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Allies and Assasins

Review

Allies and Assasins

Jared Anders was perfectly content letting his older brother, Prince Anders, rule the kingdom.  Sure, Jared sat in on important council meetings and knew enough people on the council of twelve to feel involved and important, but he didn’t have much authority or interest. This all changes the morning Prince Anders is found murdered and Jared is immediately thrust into the spotlight as the next prince of Archenfield. Along with the new duties of figuring out how to rule a kingdom, Jared must also waste no time in finding his brother’s murderer --- or else Jared may be next.

Thankfully, Jared is not alone in his ruling duties or in the investigation of his brother’s murder. Archenfield is ruled by not only Prince Jared, but also by 12 officers: the Beekeeper, Captain of the Guard, Chief Bodyguard, Chief Groom, Chief Huntsman, the Cook, the Executioner, the Falconer, the Physician, the Poet, the Priest, the Woodsman and the Edling, or next in line to the throne. Each of the officers plays a role in making important decisions in Archenfield, and they are also constantly jockeying for positions of power on the council. Jared realizes he’s not sure whom to trust --- and that one or more of these officers may be responsible for his brother’s death.

ALLIES & ASSASSINS is just the start of a larger series that combines all the elements you love from other historical fantasy books with all the elements you have come to respect from good mystery novels

Besides the 12 officers and Jared, there is one other person on the hunt for Prince Ander’s murder: the Physician’s apprentice, Asta. Asta learns that Prince Anders was poisoned and only a few people could have had access to the poisonous plants that were used. The Physician and other officers, however, routinely ignore Asta as she finds and shares important clues, so she decides to befriend Jared on her own. For his part, Jared is happy to have a friend his age whom he believes he can trust. For her part, Asta simply wants to protect Jared and other people she cares about before anyone else is hurt. Together these two young teenagers race against time to find the killer or killers and prevent anyone else from being murdered.

What seems like a fairly open-shut murder case is enhanced by author Justin Somper’s ability to weave in numerous false leads, letting readers in on suspicious conversations between different officers of the court, and including three or four subplots that seem unrelated until they all come together quite nicely in the end. There is also rich description of a unique medieval kingdom that any fan of this time period will enjoy, along with the intriguing politics that often accompanied such inner workings of a ruling court.  More importantly, though, ALLIES & ASSASSINS is just the start of a larger series that combines all the elements you love from other historical fantasy books with all the elements you have come to respect from good mystery novels. Prepare to escape this summer to a place and time where no one can be trusted and you better watch your back --- or else!

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on June 11, 2014

Allies and Assasins
by Justin Somper

  • Publication Date: May 27, 2014
  • Genres: Historical Thriller
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0316253936
  • ISBN-13: 9780316253932