It's that time of year again- school is back in session, football is on tv, and Fantasy Fridays return to Darien Library!

This week we're talking about a marvelous work of fantasy that could just as easily have taken place in a real medieval kingdom like France or England. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen contains no magic, no dragons, and no wizards. Instead, it's a twisty, turning, suprise-a-minute tale of treachery and treason in the imaginary kingdom of Carthya.

Sage is a cheeky orphan of 14 content with his life as a petty thief when he is suddenly purchased by the mysterious Lord Connor. Taken in secrecy to Lord Connor's estate, Sage meets 4 other orphans who all look like him. They have been chosen because they resemble the King of Carthya's missing son. At the end of two weeks, whichever orphan has learned to act the most like the Prince will be taken to the castle and introduced as the long-lost heir. The other three boys will be killed. Can Sage survive the next two weeks and become The False Prince?

First in her Ascendence Trilogy, Nielsen has written one of my favorite books of the year. Highly recommended for fans of courts, kings, Camelot, and Meghan Whalen Turner's The Thief.