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KLIATTThis is an especially long, complicated novel—following The Cup of the World, also lengthy. Since adult characters are equally important as the younger ones, these novels could have been marketed as adult, not YA, fantasies. Phaedra is the heroine of the first book, and it is her son Ambrose, whose life has been threatened since he was a toddler, who is the main character in this sequel, which opens as Ambrose is 13 years old, eager to see a wider world than the isolated farm where he and his mother have been hiding. A strange knight enters their world, on the trail of his own son. This starts a chain of events that drives Ambrose away, with death and evil at his heels. Eventually, he finds refuge in the fiefdom of the Widow, who is seeking a way to avoid the endless wars that destroy all those in the kingdom. Since Ambrose himself is the son of a king, it is necessary to protect his identity to save him from assassination. The 15-year-old daughter of the Widow has a mind of her own. She falls in love with a scholar, and refuses to enter into an arranged marriage with the current brutal king. Their lives are all threatened as the Widow herself is murdered. In time Ambrose uses some wisdom that may help him to break the cycle of violence and restore justice and peace. Through it all weaves the Undercraft, the magic that works to destroy all who use it to gain power. John Dickinson is the son of the author Peter Dickinson and obviously has storytelling in his blood. He is a gifted writer, able to create a detailed fantasy with believable flesh-and-blood humans inhabiting a strange world. (Sequel to The Cup of the World). KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior andsenior high school students. 2005, Random House, David Fickling, 613p., Ages 12 to 18.