It’s amazing how the theft of one item can change the fortunes of so many in such little time.
Govin is a 15-year-old boy, forced by the death of his father to take on a role much too big for him–that of sole provider for himself and his mother. He has decided to try his luck as a City Guard, where within two days he is thrust into a perplexing theft–that of a mysterious diadem said to have healing powers.
Tayla, a 13-year-old, starving street child, picks the wrong pocket (Govin’s) out of sheer desperation, which was a mistake that puts them both in jeopardy.
With Govin’s help, Tayla is caught–and accused of stealing the diadem, not just pickpocketing. Govin is surprised and horrified when he learns that Tayla could end up in prison, or worse, without even the pretense of a trial. Risking his life and his future, he frees Tayla and they both go underground.
They join together to learn who could have stolen the artifact. The way events unwind, it seems that the culprit may be one of the inhabitants of the temple of the goddess Natifa, who supposedly created the diadem in the first place.
Then, in the midst of their sleuthing, Tayla disappears. Govin must seek the aid of the priestess Larissa, and risks his own arrest by contacting a fellow Guard, Dalen, for his help. Together, they search for Tayla, following clues to find her and bring her to safety.
And at the same time, to bring the true culprit to justice.
This middle-school-range book was a delight to read. What stood out most was the character of the people involved. Govin acted without putting himself first to right an injustice to someone generally forgotten by society. Dalen and Larissa both risk their jobs for the same reason. Tayla gives up the security of her anonymity to help Govin, to whom she feels she owes a great debt.
The character interaction was well thought out. The reader can feel the warmth and the trust between these four people. The story flowed nicely, and, yes, I could definitely tell there would be more of this story in the future.
Keep writing, Ms. O’Mara–you have a wonderful series started here.