by Sherwood Smith
12-year-old aristo Lilah asks, Why are the kingdom’s magic spells are fading? But her uncle the king only wants a stronger army. Why are the kids outside the palace gates ragged and hungry? But the king keeps raising taxes. Her older brother Peitar, the king’s heir, spends more time writing mysterious letters than talking to her. And her father just wants her to learn court manners.
Since everyone is ignoring her, Lilah disguises herself and slips over the walls to befriend those ragged kids. She learns that revolution is fermenting, led by the charismatic young commoner Derek. And Lilah is shocked to learn that her scholarly brother is allied with Derek.
The revolution ignites into chaos and violence. Lilah and her friends are determined to help however they can. But what can four kids do? Become spies, of course! Chases and disguises, captures and trials lead to a wild climax, with Lilah right in the middle.
First published by Viking, and a finalist for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, this young adult fantasy has been completely revised for the Book View Cafe edition.
READ A SAMPLE OF SPY PRINCESS
If you visit Selenna House, the first thing you see are the broken gates. Weeds grow all around. You go up the broad graveled drive that used to be raked every day, but now is full of holes and more weeds.
Then you come to the fountain, which still spouts four streams of water, for the magic spell on it will probably last another hundred years. You think, whose idea of art is this, flying babies and cats and other sentimental footle? Well, let me tell you, that fountain hides secrets.
But you don’t know that, so you look at the house. Its forty tall windows—twenty-four upstairs, sixteen downstairs—are now mostly broken, like a big grin with missing teeth. Fire blackens the walls, and if you go inside, you see where the great silver and crystal chandelier once hung—now just a dangling chain—and the grand stairways on either side of the hall that curve upward to a landing littered with animal nests and ashes and broken bits of furniture. A row of rooms opens off it.
That door down at the left end? My rooms.
It’s cleaner downstairs, because the last tenants swept the floor before they were swept by slam justice.
Oh, I’m sure you’ve heard about that, but not what actually happened.
I am here to tell you the real truth, because I—Lilah Selenna—was there.