Allies & Assassins
Allies & Assassins

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Series: Allies & Assassins Vol. 1   

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Annotation: Ascending Archenfield's throne after his brother's murder, sixteen-year-old Jared feels unprepared to face a powerful and dangerous court and wonders who among his twelve advisers may have been responsible for killing his brother.
Catalog Number: #85654
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition Date: 2014
Pages: 482 pages
Availability: Special Order Only - Contact Customer Service at +1 800 637-6581 or +1 217 243-5451
ISBN: Publisher: 0-316-25393-6 Perma-Bound: 0-605-82585-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-316-25393-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-82585-7
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2013017968
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Sixteen-year-old Jared ascends to the throne of Archenfield after his brother Anders is murdered. Now he must learn to navigate the murky waters of politics, while also finding the assassin. The only person he can trust is Asta, the physician's young apprentice. As the assassin strikes again and again, the situation becomes desperate and Jared must act quickly before his own reign is cut short. Somper's faux-historical novel is more of a police procedural than the political thriller the title might suggest, and readers looking for fantasy action will be disappointed, since there is no magic and the pace of the story sometimes drags. But those who like the mechanics of forensic detective work will enjoy watching Asta and Jared attempt to logically and scientifically solve the crimes, unknowingly hampered by their lack of modern equipment and know-how. Both teens fight to be taken seriously, and their friendship is a solid component of the story, balancing the huge cast of characters. A cliff-hanger ending will leave readers wanting more.
Horn Book
When Prince Anders of Archenfield is murdered, his self-doubting brother Jared inherits the throne. Jared's investigation into the assassination takes a sharp turn after the Physician's niece, Asta, discovers that the culprit may be one of the prince's twelve-member council. The intricately layered alliances and tensions of court intrigue are enhanced by this riveting series-debut's tight pace and sudden twists.
Kirkus Reviews
Following the murder of his brother, Prince Anders, Jared must not only assume the throne as ruler of all Archenfield, but take on the role of investigator into the crime. As he's only 16, it is lucky for Jared that he has the Council of The Twelve to guide him in his decisions. Unfortunately, he quickly learns that not all is as it seems in the kingdom. Lust for power, unrequited love and personal vendettas make it difficult for Jared to know whom to trust. So when Asta Peck, the Physician's niece and apprentice, begins her own inquiry, he is relieved to find that he is not the only one seeking the truth. Their investigation is complicated by the death of the prince's consort and her unborn child and the attempted murder of the Falconer. It is clear that the killer is ruthless, but his or her motivation and identity remain hidden. While the mystery is suspenseful, a lack of sensory detail keeps the fantastic setting vague, despite ornate, medieval-esque trappings. The over-large cast is often unwieldy, keeping the individual characters undefined and forcing readers to the Archenfield family tree and list of officers at the front. Still, there's a lot going on, and readers caught up in the plot will probably want to find out what happens next. Here's hoping they'll be rewarded with more depth and color in the sequels to come. (Adventure. 12-16)
Publishers Weekly
Somper (the Vampirates books) launches his first series for teens, in which a 16-year-old prince takes the throne after his older brother is assassinated. Before Jared can be crowned prince of Archenfeld, he and his court must track down Prince Anders-s killer and exact justice. Though they swiftly find their chief suspect, questions remain; Asta, the Physician-s apprentice, believes the true murderer is still on the loose. As other bodies turn up, Jared and Asta navigate a complex web of political intrigue where anyone might be a killer and a traitor. Drawing on premedieval Welsh courts for inspiration, Somper breathes life into the inner workings of his fantasy kingdom, which feels like a lost European territory. The cast is sprawling and complicated; some characters all but fade into the background while others practically chew the scenery. With its focus on forensics investigation and suspense, this is both political thriller and royal drama. Though the story takes place over just a few days, the pacing is slow, but the underlying story is solid and entertaining. Ages 12-up. Agent: Philippa Milnes-Smith, LAW, Ltd. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up&12; From the first page of this hefty volume, the Princedom of Archenfield is plunged into mystery, danger, and intrigue. Prince Anders, who has ruled the kingdom through just two peaceful years, has been found dead, and his 16-year-old brother Jared has automatically become Prince of All Archenfield. Though he is clever and kind, Jared is not prepared to assume the crown. Luckily, he has the Twelve; officers of the court whose job is to advise, teach, and protect him. But can Jared trust them? In the few days before his brother's funeral and his own coronation, Jared and the clever young Physician's Apprentice, Asta, investigate the mystery of Ander's murder, keenly aware that the murderer may be targeting Jared as well. As more victims are claimed, the mismatched young couple uncover lies, secret love affairs, and more suspects than they had expected. Though some of the hints seem obvious, Somper manages to keep the mystery alive with many red herrings, surprises, and plot twists, while deftly setting up the scenario for a sequel. Fans of medieval adventure, murder mysteries, and romance will all find something to like here, and readers will eagerly await the continuation of the this engrossing saga.&12; MaryAnn Karre, West Middle School, Binghamton, NY
Voice of Youth Advocates
At sixteen years of age, kindhearted Jared is ill prepared to rule a kingdom. But that is exactly what he gets after his older brother, Anders, is poisoned. Prince Jared inherits both the crown and the mystery of his brother's death. Jared soon realizes that many intrigues were hidden by the guise of Anders's so-called peaceful rule. One obvious antagonist is Jared's cousin, Axel, captain of the guard. Rough and lordly, Axel makes it no secret that he believes himself to be the better leader. A killer is soon in custody, and a feisty girl named Asta, the physician's apprentice, is sure that they have imprisoned the wrong guy. She becomes Jared's trusted ally as they continue the investigation.Somper adopts a leisurely pace, presumably so there is time to cast suspicion on all possible suspects. Mystery lovers will be delighted to uncover enough red herrings for a fish fry. On the other hand, readers looking for the swashbuckling adventure of the Vampirates series may find that the story unfolds too slowly. Now that the large cast is in place, however, subsequent volumes of the series can pick up steam as Prince Jared faces those who wish to dethrone him. This may be cause for comparison with Game of Thrones; Prince Jared is sure to face plenty of political intrigue in the volumes ahead.Diane Colson.
Word Count: 104,044
Reading Level: 6.1
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.1 / points: 17.0 / quiz: 166415 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:6.4 / points:24.0 / quiz:Q63887
Lexile: HL820L

Sixteen-year-old Jared is the newly crowned Prince of All Archenfield, ascending the throne after his older brother's mysterious death. But Jared feels reluctant and unprepared to rule the Princedom and its dangerous and powerful court. Like each Prince of All Archenfield before him, Jared must rely on the Council of Twelve to advise him. But he knows he can just as easily be at their mercy--especially when it appears that one of the Twelve might have orchestrated his brother's untimely death. Propelled by his rage over the loss of his brother and wary of all his advisors, Jared can trust only Asta: a clever, strong-willed girl from the settlements, currently serving as the Physician's apprentice. Asta and Jared take it upon themselves to hunt down his brother's assassin--though the assassin may be hunting them, as well.

Murder, betrayal, and intrigue abound in Justin Somper's thrilling YA series debut. Exploring the political machinations of the medieval-esque court and the lives that hang in the balance, Allies & Assassins is a gripping tale of a teen torn between duty and revenge.

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