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The Secret of Castle Cant    by K. P. Bath order for
Secret of Castle Cant
by K. P. Bath
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2004 (2004)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Orphaned Lucy Wickwright is maid to the 'Adored & Honorable' Pauline Esmerelda Simone-Thierry von Cant, in the tiny (lost between the crease in map folds) Barony of Cant. Though Lucy does run around all day doing her mistress's bidding, it's not quite a Cinderella story. You see, Lucy likes Pauline even when that spoiled young lady gets her servant into trouble for catapulting wet laundry onto an execution (of a chicken, that is).

The catapult fiasco launches Lucy into a new career as a spy, after astronomer Luigi Lemonjello asks her to deliver a message to Arden Gutz, jailed for protesting the high cost of the nobility's addiction to chewing gum. Lucy has mixed feelings for Arden, who leads the 'glorious Cause' against 'the yoke of gum' and its prime importer, wicked Postal Commissioner Vladimir Orloff. Lucy's new, and largely accidental, role propels her into all kinds of reluctant (though exciting) adventures, during which she learns surprising facts about Orloff's role in her own history.

When Lucy learns about plots against Pauline, she's determined to save her mistress, and has to act fast after she's called to the Baron's deathbed. Though Pauline believes her a betrayer, Lucy remains a firm, true friend and together, they weave their way through all the factions fighting for power. I recommend The Secret of Castle Cant to you as a delightfully silly, highly entertaining adventure, which is also a tale of loyalty and an unusual friendship.

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