This stunning book opens twelve years after the end of The Cup of the World and tells the story of Ambrose, son of Phaedra and last in the king's line, who is living exiled with his mother in the dilapidated manor of Tarceny. Ambrose's life is threatened by the hooded priest of the Undercraft, an ancestral spirit of pure evil who must end Ambrose's life in order to survive himself. And even when Ambrose is hidden within the house of the Widow of Develin, a hallowed place of learning and haven of education, the priest and his minions slowly and subtly infiltrate within, subverting the minds of those most educated and powerful and leaving Ambrose in mortal danger. This book is about the meaning of kingship, the relationship between father and son, mother and son, the importance of courage and knowledge, innocence and experience. It is a huge and marvellous read - challenging and uplifting.
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This is rich and finely wrought writing, taking readers on a genuine journey of imagination - Books for Keeps
This has one of the most compelling openings I've read . . . gripping yet dreamlike, frustrating yet marvellously suggestive - The Times
A true page-turner . . . the use of evocative language in setting powerful interplay of suspense, intrigue and action make for a fantastically readable sequel to The Cup of the World - writeaway.org.uk
Tremendous pace . . . beautifully written - Irish Times
This is a novel of epic proportions, in which a richly multi-coloured medieval setting is the background for a narrative of vibrant characters and passionate political debate - TES
A superbly written fantasy. It is gripping and intriguing - The School Librarian
John Dickinson was born in London in 1962. Educated at St Paul's School London and Trinity College Oxford, he joined the Ministry of Defence in 1985, with spells at the Cabinet Office and NATO. In 2002 he left MOD to be house-husband, touchline Dad and writer. He is also the household cook, a struggling tenor and treasurer for the parish church. John lives in Painswick, Gloucestershire.