“A lightning bolt erupted from the cloud and aimed
directly at Ned’s heart. He couldn’t cry out. He couldn’t even move. He could just feel the magic sink into
his skin and spread itself over every inch of him, bubbling and slithering and
cutting deep, until he didn’t know where the magic stopped and he began.”
When Ned and his identical
twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging, bewitched river, only Ned
survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. Sure enough, Ned grows
up weak and slow, and stays as much as possible within the safe boundaries of
his family’s cottage and yard. But when a Bandit King comes to steal the magic
that Ned’s mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it’s Ned who safeguards the
magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.
In the meantime, in another
kingdom across the forest that borders Ned’s village lives Áine, the
resourceful and pragmatic daughter of the Bandit King. She is haunted by her
mother’s last words to her: “The wrong boy will save your life and you will
save his.” But when Áine and Ned’s paths cross, can they trust each other long
enough to make their way through the treacherous woods and stop the war about
to boil over?
With a deft hand, acclaimed
author Kelly Barnhill takes classic fairy tale elements—speaking stones, a
friendly wolf, and a spoiled young king–and weaves them into a richly detailed
narrative that explores good and evil, love and hate, magic, and the power of
friendship. Download and start listening now!