In this first book in a purported trilogy, Sage is taken from an orphanage by the scheming Conner and taken to his luxurious mansion with fellow orphans Roden and Tobias. The reason? The entire royal family of Carthya has been murdered, with the exception of Prince Jaron, who was on a ship that was attacked by pirates when he was about ten, and has never been found. Conner wants to groom a boy to pretend to be the prince, ostensibly to prevent a war between Carthya and a neighboring kingdom. The boys have a variety of skill levels, education, and attitude problems, but Sage is the worst-- he is constantly fighting against Conner, running off, and being a brat about his new found fortune, mainly because all the boys know that whomever is not chosen will surely die. Despite his contrary personality, Sage develops some allies in the maid servant Imogen and the trainer Mott, who both try to help him, and manages to attract the positive attention of the princess Araminda, who is supposed to marry Jaron's brother, and since he is dead, will marry the boy Conner chooses to be prince. When Conner finally does make his choice, long forgotten secrets are revealed that change the entire game.
Even though I didn't want to read yet another medieval fantasy, I was oddly drawn into this one. Great cover. The fact that it will be a trilogy and not something longer makes me inclined to purchase this.