Sage, a clever orphan from a neighboring country, is sold as a servant to a nobleman with a plan that smacks of treason. With the royal family missing and presumed dead, Conner wants to prepare a replacement prince. Sage and two other orphaned boys are faced with a terrible choice: join Conner in his plan or die at the hands of his henchmen. If they accept, one boy will be chosen to wear the crown as prince of Carthya. With Conner as his chief adviser, of course.
The three boys accept and Conner and his men begin a series of lessons and tests to prepare them to impersonate the lost prince. Sage bucks against Conner’s plan at every step, sneaking out at night to explore the castle in hopes of finding an escape and sleeping through the daily history lessons. The other boys see Conner’s plan as a precious opportunity and pursue the training with mind and strength. How far will they go to see that Conner chooses them as prince?
From the very beginning, Sage’s character is extremely prickly, which may prevent some readers from being able to sympathize with him. He is cocky and stubborn, but his softer side emerges as he gets to know a servant girl named Imogen. The first in Nielsen’s The Ascendance Trilogy, The False Prince is a tale cleanly told and packed with action and intrigue. This story of lords and princes will appeal to classic fantasy lovers for its setting and themes of royalty lost and found. I enjoyed this clean, fast-paced book.
A boy is beaten severely in hopes that it will make him reveal a secret.