Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), Hardcover, 9780805072327, 256pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 2004
"You!" shouted a voice from near the willow tree. "Stop!"
Hodge heard the jangle of a horse's bridle. He spun about the other way, but a dark shape jumped out of the shadows and knocked him to the ground. Light flashed into his face as a lantern was uncovered.
"A spy," hissed the figure. "A stinkin' spy."
A glorious adventure of castles, kings, traitors-and one humble hunchback who has to save them all
Long ago, Castle Marlby rang with the comings and goings of kings and princes. Now the castle is a quiet, sleepy place where everyone seems to have forgotten those golden days. Everyone but Hodge, that is. Though his hunched back earns him the unlovely job of mucking out the latrine, he dreams of serving a prince someday. But when one finally appears, he is nothing like Hodge expected.
Prince Leo is kept hidden away behind locked doors, as if he were in terrible danger. Or is he himself the dangerous one? When Hodge discovers the truth, he tumbles headlong into an adventure that proves far more exciting than he could ever have imagined. It will take all his strength to survive-and all his heart.
"Wright keeps the tension high"--Publishers Weekly
"This engaging story simulates a chess game with its twists, turns, and power shifts. . . . This novel is well researched and well written, has cliffhanging chapter endings, and features a disabled underdog who emerges as the hero."--VOYA
"This gripping novel touches on timeless themes of brotherly love, trust, and finding oneself. . . .This evenly paced adventure is infused with a deep send of medieval time and place."--School Library Journal
" [R]eaders will root for Hodge as he learns that life as in chess, pawns can save their king-especially when protected by a more powerful piece."--Booklist
"[F]or readers with a taste for fast-paced action and unlikely heroes in medieval settings, this is a solid offering."--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books