The False Prince
By Jennifer A. Nielsen
Scholastic, April 2012
I've seen many books with blurbs comparing them to Megan Whalen Turner's Thief series, but none ever seem to come close to the mark. But finally, I have found it, a book that contains the slyness, mystery, cunning characters, and ingenious plot that makes me think of Turner's work: Jennifer A. Nielsen's The False Prince.
Sage is an orphan and a thief collected, along with three other boys, to be trained to impersonate a dead prince. Taught swordsmanship, writing, reading, history, and manners, the orphans strive to learn a decades worth of princely arts in mere weeks, all under the guidance of Connor, a nobleman intent to stop civil war. Sage has no desire to commit treason, but whichever boys do not learn to act as Prince Jaron will be killed. The other boys quickly create their own plans, each trying to best the others, and each trying to knife the others in the back. But it seems that Sage, too, has something up his sleeve, something no one has even considered. Layers of schemes, deceit, and treachery abound in this quick-paced novel of intrigue and danger. Luckily, Nielson has promised sequels, though they won't come soon enough!