Aly’s only ambition in life is to be a spy, like her father, but her parents won’t allow it. So when she is kidnapped and sold into a life of slavery in the Cooper Isles, Aly is prepared to collect imformation for her spymaster father, and then to escape back to her family. But when a God appears to her and makes a deal, Aly accepts. She is bound to stay with her captors and to protect the Balitang family’s children for one year. As Aly learns why the Balitangs are in exile from court and works her way into the family’s trust, she discovers that she is in the middle of a burgeoning rebellion. Aly is swept up in the excitement and intrigue, as well as the friendships and romantic relationships she establishes in the Copper Isles. She makes herself indispensable to the Balitangs and to the rebellion, and at the same time finds her own destiny.
Aly is a clever, engaging heroine, and Pierce’s world is full of excitement and intrigue. It is obvious that Pierce’s work on her earlier books set in the same world have led to a very complex, well thought out fantasy setting for the book. While Aly does sometimes come across as much more talented and clever than anyone has a right to be, she has her share of flaws. These flaws, along with her humanizing relationship with Nawat and her sassy humor, help keep her from becoming a too-good-to-be-true heroine. The fast moving plot and the strong female characters will make this book especially popular for girls who enjoy fantasy.