We’ve been getting a lot of questions about The Prince of Knaves lately and have been asked to provide a more in details synopsis of the book.
Warning – May Contain Spoilers – Skip Between the lines to avoid spoilers.
After a night of drunken revelry, Prince Natier returns to the palace and begins what has been a typical day in his life for numerous years. He lazes around in bed and weasels his father out of more money to spend on gaudy clothing and concubines. One thing is different that day, however. Our fox meets a very attractive towel boy, and against his better judgment, invites the otter to dinner – and whatever comes of it later that night. This particular otter turns out to be far more than just a towel boy. He is an assassin, hired to murder the prince. Why? Natier doesn’t get a chance to ask. In a burst of adrenaline, he turns the tables on the would-be killer and escapes into the city under his usual pseudonym of Rivard. Typically, Natier uses the pseudonym to walk about the city at night and sample its many carnal pleasures. With this disguise, the fox is able to put down his facade of haughty indifference and truly have fun. This time, however, he may be stuck in that role much longer and for far darker reasons. An impromptu meeting with a wolf named Saaron, an old friend of his, informs Rivard that his was not the only assassination attempt of the night. King Rasdil was also the victim of an attack; and according to Riius, the Royal Secretary, the assailant was none other than Prince Natier himself.
Saaron offers to smuggle Rivard out of Llyra, but the fox refuses. He reasons that if he runs now, he will spend the rest of his life running. His only chance at a normal existence is to find his father and get him to testify. Reluctantly, Saaron agrees to help. He acquires a set of fake identification papers for Riv and finds a quiet hiding place with the local boat shop owner, a cougar named Kaardis – all for a hefty fee, of course, which Rivard agrees to pay from his emergency gold cache.
The cougar’s apprentice, an otter named Sam, takes a mystified fascination with his new roommate. Being who he is, Rivard instantly sees a chance to have a no-strings-attached sex partner. He begins romancing the otter but slowly finds himself falling in love with perhaps the only person he has ever met who is nothing more that what he appears to be – kind, a bit naive and truly innocent. These feelings are only amplified as Riv unwittingly pulls the otter into his messy life and almost gets him killed. Unfortunately, while love has found him at last, other aspects of the fox’s life are far less promising. Everywhere he goes, Riv feels like he is being watched. At first, this seems like nothing more than paranoia, but when his only lead to unraveling the mystery gets shot and killed before his very eyes, Rivard realizes that it is much, much more. To make matters worse, someone has robbed his gold cache, and unless Riv can figure out a way of replenishing that money, Kaardis will throw him out. Saaron remedies the situation by finding Riv a job with a gang of thieves led by a rabbit named Zak. The gig seems easy enough; too easy, in fact. And Rivard soon realizes part of the reason. All of the items his group steals are being used to implicate certain Llyran officials. Those officials share two common traits: They are both in opposition of Llyra’s war with its neighboring country of Aarya, and they are all in line for the throne.
Rivard hatches a plan to foil the latest theft from within. To his great surprise, he succeeds – only to realize the real reason for why his attempts to double-cross the thieves have gone over so well. This well-laid trap lands him aboard a corsair ship, in the clutches of her captain, bound for a tiny island at the very western edge of the kingdom.
Sam comes to his aid, having stowed away aboard the ship, and the two escape together with the help of a very unlikely ally, but not before finding out that Zak has a lot more to do with their troubles than they’d first suspected. Another name is mentioned: General Craagus.
They wash up on Varlimm, but getting home ends up being a bigger challenge than even making it to the island had been. All of the local captains refuse to make the trip to the capital city for fear of being picked off by the Llyran navy, who have grown increasingly more paranoid of a surprise Aaryan attack. There is one captain up for the job, and he’s a vicious smuggler who has been rumored to hold slaves.
Together, Rivard and Sam must escape from Varlimm, return to Llyra and finally unravel the conspiracy behind a slowly-brewing war that could plunge the whole continent into chaos.
The Prince of Knaves is available for purchase here.