Previously published as Flame in Shadow by Patrick O’Sullivan
When half-human enchanter Maddy Dune saves the royal heir and unexpectedly wins a magical competition she accidentally plunges into the heart of an ancient conflict. Ordered to protect the competition’s trophy for a year and a day, Maddy reluctantly agrees, only to discover the trophy is coveted, cursed, and in the wrong hands. Ask anyone.
Now the magical and unpredictable Folk are whispering of prophecy and plotting rebellion. Changelings grown from stolen hair and fingernails are turning up on Maddy’s doorstep. Undead sorcerers are turning up everywhere. And Its Royal Tanist, her soul mate and heir to the throne has disappeared.
The Department of Criminal Magic is clueless. Her adoptive parents are hopeless. Maddy is on her own, her only allies a birdlike emissary created by the murderous kylochs of Ghula, and her adoptive father’s fantastically clever clockwork cat. Maddy must puzzle out the hidden truth about the enigmatic Spelling Bee trophy before it’s too late. But first she must face an even more terrifying truth–and one she can’t escape.