The Boys Are Back!
Sir Michael Sevenson and his squire, Fisk, can't seem to keep out of hot water. After five long years, Fisk has been called home to Ruesport to investigate who framed his sister Anna's husband, Max, as a blackmailer. Anna figures that Fisk, with his criminal past, is uniquely qualified to find out who set Max up. Of course Michael feels he has to come along to help his friend; but now he wears the tattoos of the unredeemed and fears he might be more hindrance than help.
As in The Last Knight, Hilari Bell's first Knight and Rogue novel, Rogue's Home combines the banter of a buddy story with elements of classic fantasy, medieval derring-do, and mystery. Michael and Fisk are likable guys who just seem to he magnets for trouble. You never know what is going to happen to these would-be heroes next.
About the Author
Hilari Bell used to work as a reference librarian, but she now writes science fiction and fantasy for kids and teens from her home base in Denver, Colorado.Hilari’s favorite activity is camping, when she spends all her time reading and hiking. She says, “Camping is the only time I can get in enough reading. Well, I take that back—when it comes to reading, there’s no such thing as enough.”
Read an Excerpt
A Knight and Rogue Novel
By Hilari Bell
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2008
All right reserved.
Most of the time, having a squire is a wonderful thing for a knight errant, but there are times when 'tis a cursed nuisance. Especially a squire such as Fisk, who notices far too much.
"That's the fourth time you've looked over your shoulder in the last hour," he complained. "If we're going to be ambushed, I wish you'd let me know. It'd be nice to be prepared—for a change."
The cobbled street was rough. Despite the Green Moon's light, I stumbled into a rain-filled pothole and swore. Chant, the destrier I was leading, pranced nimbly around it, his hooves clattering on the stone. Fisk, who was leading Tipple, swerved and missed it too. My surge of irritation was unworthy of a true knight, but I confess I felt it. And I shouldn't have. Due to a trifling bit of aid offered a carter whose wagon had become mired on the road, Fisk was, for once, as wet and muddy as I.
"In the first place," I told him, "you couldn't be more prepared to fight off an ambush—you've been twitching like a hunted hare for the last two weeks. And second, the warning Gift isn't that reliable. I once felt like this for almost a month, and I later learned that 'twas because one of my aunts was thinking of marrying me off to her best friend's third daughter. It could be anything, Fisk. It could be nothingat all."
The Gift for sensing the presence of magic, a Gift whose inheritance allowed the noble families to rise to power by knowing which trees were safe to cut, which animals safe to slaughter, is always reliable. Magic is either there or it isn't, and the Gods avenge themselves on those who destroy magica plants or animals without first paying the price. But there are also a host of lesser talents, which we also call "Gifts," and they function most erratically—if they function at all.
The tale of Aunt Gwen's scheme made Fisk laugh, as 'twas meant to, but he sobered quickly.
"I haven't been twitchy for weeks—just since you started looking over your shoulder, day before yesterday. Because the last time you did that, old Hackle planted that magica hide on Tipple and almost got us killed. And I didn't mean prepared to fight, I meant prepared to run. You're carrying the money just now, remember?"
I couldn't help but smile at that, for my purse had developed a peculiar habit of ending up in Fisk's hands, whether I'd lent it to him or not. I didn't mind, for Fisk is better with money than I—though 'twas sometimes disconcerting to reach down and find it missing.
I fought the urge to look behind us yet again. Assisting the unfortunate carter had brought us into Toffleton three hours after sunset, though in mid-Oaken the sun set early enough that light and noise still streamed into the streets when a tavern opened its doors. Aside from that, and the high-sailing moon, the streets were dark, for respectable folk had their shutters closed against the damp chill.
Though I know 'tis beneath a knight errant (not to mention two lads in their late teens) to care about such petty concerns, I was tired. I only hoped we could convince a decent inn to open its doors to us—though if it got much colder, I'd settle for a not-so-decent inn and accept a few fleas as a fair exchange for warmth.
Since we were looking for an inn of the variety Fisk refers to as "cheap but clean," the neighborhood was a respectable one, so when the voice behind us called out, "Master Fisk!" there was no reason for Fisk to jump half out of his skin and draw his dagger as he turned. Though I must admit I turned quite rapidly myself, and my hand came to rest on the hilt of my sword, which protruded from the pack on Chant's rump.
"Master Fisk?" The man puffing up behind us didn't seem to warrant such precautions. As he drew near, the moonlight revealed him to be stout, sturdy, and middle-aged, with a peddler's pack on his back and a larger pack on the donkey trotting behind him.
My hand fell away from my sword, and Fisk sheathed his dagger and folded his arms as the man caught up with us.
"Who wants to know?" Fisk asked cautiously.
"I want to know. Are you the Master Fisk who once lived in Ruesport? I've been carrying this letter for almost three months—thought I'd never be rid of it!"
A number of conflicting expressions flashed over Fisk's face, and I wondered what enemies he'd acquired in his years as a con man to make him so wary to claim his identity. At least, that's how I interpreted the pause that passed before he finally said, "That's me. Who's it from?"
"You'll have to read it to find that out, won't you?" The peddler dropped his pack to the damp cobbles and burrowed into a small sack of sealed missives. "Here we are. Three gold roundels."
"What!" Fisk yelped. "For a letter? A letter three months old?"
"That was the agreed-on price—one to carry, three on delivery, no matter how long it took. I've carried it, and I've tracked you down—which wasn't easy, you know. I found someone who'd seen you three days ago, and . . ."
The rest of his complaint was lost in the surge of relief that overtook me. He'd been following us for three days! It was this harmless little man I'd sensed—for the creeping tension at the back of my neck was gone. I'd have paid him for that knowledge alone, but, as I've said, Fisk is better with money than I.
"I'm not going to pay three gold roundels for a letter that old," Fisk said firmly. "Besides, no one knows where I am—how could they send a letter after me?"
Excerpted from Rogue's Home by Hilari Bell
Copyright © 2008 by Hilari Bell. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Michael and Fisk are on their way back to Baron Seven Oak's, knowing that Michael will soon be declared "unredeemed," when a mysterious messenger gives Fisk a letter. It's pretty much incoherent, except that his sister Anna writes "come home" and that they need him. As in the first book, each chapter switches between Michael's and Fisk's first-person, humorous narratives. This time, we learn much more about Fisk's background and hometown.This was a quick read I ate it up in about two days. I figured out the end way before the main characters, but that's really the only gripe I have. 4.5 stars.
Although I haven't read the first book of the series, I love this book. As an avid reader of mysteries and fantasies, I was pleased to see how Hilari Bell had combined fantasy, humor, mystery, action, and adventure all into one wonderfully-crafted novel.In this Knight and Rogue novel, Sir Michael and his squire Fisk set off for Fisk's home in order to investigate murders, fires, and blackmail that have upset Fisk's family. Complications arise as Michael is found out to be unredeemed (an unredeemed man has no legal rights and is generally looked down upon), and he is framed by the unknown arsonist. Through a series of interrogations of suspects and the families of the deceased, Michael and Fisk unknowingly move closer to solving this mystery despite their troubles with the law. But will they succeed before Fisk's family is forced to move?Michael and Fisk prove to be worthy detectives, reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. They create the perfect balance with their contrasting yet complementary personalities. Even more so, the novel alternates between the two, so readers get to know both of them pretty well. The alternation between perspectives also doesn't slow down the novel despite the differences between the two. Sensible, clever, and comical Fisk is the foil to the idealistic, honorable, and naïve Michael. Their witty banters (most of which were started by Fisk) create comic relief. So whether you're more like Michael or more like Fisk, they both have many likeable qualities that are relatable. What I liked was how consistent the book was that I never once mixed up the characters' viewpoints, yet I can definitely see how Michael and Fisk mature throughout the story (while still retaining their core characteristics).The plot was cleverly-devised and original, especially since it was a detective story set in a medieval setting. Even though the plot's main focal point is on the mystery, Bell also incorporates Fisk's background with his family. Fisk does his best to solve the mystery, risking his and Michael's life in the process, due to his loyalty to his family.Bell creates great descriptions without sounding too gaudy. The chase scenes, fires, questionings, and their limited time made the story all the more thrilling. A lot is at stake for solving the mystery would supposedly restore Fisk's family's name, bring light to the deaths of the victims, clear Michael of the suspected arson charges, and reveal the true mastermind behind all the crimes.My only complaint is that I wish the novel had gotten more in depth with Michael's slight magical ability, though it is explained that he didn't trust it. Otherwise, it was a great novel, and I look forward to reading more of Hilari Bell's works.Note: Also reviewed for HarperTeen.
Noble-Sir Michael the knight errant becomes one of the unredeemed and loses his noble title while his squire Fisk, released from his debt, is a freeman called home to save his family, giving us the details about Fisk's past hinted at in the first book. The story is two-person point of view like the first book. It was easier to keep the narrators straight as we see Michael cope with the effects of his new tattoo that mark him as unredeemed while Fisk, reunited with his family, blossoms. The world they live in is again delivered in tantalizing pieces giving readers just enough information to form questions. It's almost like a book within a book - at some point, these details will be important, just not right now. That makes me eager to read the next installment in the series.
I found this book to be better than the first in this series. The storyline (mystery) flows smoothly. I really enjoyed, intermixed with the mystery, the growth and development of characters while they deal with both interpersonal and intrapersonal dilemmas in an unforgiving and unyielding flawed society. I found it difficult to put down the book everytime I would read a few chapters. And even when I would put down the book, it really invoked a response from me - I would be angry at the hypocracies exposed and/or when good was thwarted not by evil but by ignorance. Overall, I would DEFINATELY and WHOLE-HEARTEDLY recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
Surprisingly, I liked this second addition more than the first. There was more character development and lots of humor, plus plenty of twists to keep you on your toes!
Michael and Fisk are on the road again, after their last adventure turned out sourly. A rider catches up with them, delivering a letter from Fisk's family. He's desperately needed at home.
He returns on his own, hoping that Michael will not follow him.
Michael does follow, and his history shakes up the town. Fisk's brother-in-law has been falsely accused of blackmail. His sister wrote Fisk home, hoping that he could help (specifically with his knowledge of criminals) clear her husband's name.
Fisk and Michael start talking to the townspeople, but some don't like their questions. Someone sets fires, blaming Michael, forcing him to lay low. Can Fisk discover who framed his family before the citizens of the town kill Michael?
The sequel to THE LAST KNIGHT, ROGUE'S HOME is a medieval tale of mystery and action that will captivate readers and keep them guessing until the end of the book.
Chivalrous teenager Sir Michael Sevenson, THE LAST KNIGHT, accompanied by his squire roguish reformed burglar Fisk, disobeys his father who ordered him to arrest a woman accused of murder. He refused because he felt she was innocent and honor and justice prevailed. However, his irate dad declares him "unredeemed" and tattooed as such on his wrists for all to see and spurn, which means he is shunned by society. Fisk makes it clear he believes his master is an idiot for choosing honor over a warm bed and a hot meal.
Fisk receives a letter from his sister asking him to return home to deal with a family crisis. Away for about five years, he reluctantly heads to his birth village Ruesport with Michael accompanying him to investigate arson and bribery; the suspect is Fisk¿s brother-in-law who the squire would prefer gets hung rather than solve the case and prove his innocence.
The second teenage quixotic medieval tale is a fun mystery in which the two amateur sleuths find their investigation constantly gets them in trouble and danger. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Fisk receives the missive and never slows down as the pair battle Hilari Bell¿s equivalent to windmills, but do so with honor. Rotating perspective between the knight and the squire, teen readers will enjoy their squabbles, disagreements and antics in the second amusing adventures of the Last Knight
Hilari Bell has made this awesome world that gives you a little of everything, fantasy, mystery, and adventure too. What really makes these books my favorite though is the characters. Michael and Fisk are so funny and their friendship is really unexpected but very fun to read. In this book, the laughs and suspense are even bigger, and I couldn't put it down!
When I read the first book The Last Knight, I couldn't believe that Michael and Fisk's journey was at an end. I wanted more! So I was really happy when I found out that there was a second book, I practically ran to the bookstore to get it! I was not dissapointed in the least. It felt so good to read more about Michael and Fisk and their ever growing friendship. The banter between those two are priceless, but it's their devotion to one another that really attracts me to them. Through out the book, poor Michael was just being abused by all sides because of his being unredeemed. Having been blamed for many of the towns misfortunes because of it. But even though this seemed to get him down most of the time, his loyalty to Fisk and wanting to help him and his family gave him the strength to keep on going. It was even better getting to know Fisk's somewhat miss-matched family. Discovering his real name was a hoot *laughs* and he still acts much like a child. A very intelegent child. Having Michael and Fisk interact with so many different characters give me a bit of insight on how they act towards different people. Michael is the gentlemen while Fisk is the blunt questioner, as it should be lol! From reading and trying to find out who it was that had some antagonistic ways towards Fisk's brother-in-law, I could see that Fisk truely wanted to help his family in any way possible. Although he never truely admits to his feelings, there where many times where I really felt his sincerity towards them. Obviously so did Michael. This was like a detective/mystery novel where two young men are trying to clear the name of a decent man while trying to stay out of trouble at the same time. Although not everything turned out good in their favor haha! I was really surprised to find out who was behind all these terrible things at the end, and hopefully many other readers will too. I enjoyed this book till the very end, and I can't WAIT to read the next book! Michael and Fisk have turned into my two favorite book characters, and they'll continue to be so for a long time.