A clever young girl looking for adventure gets more than she bargained for when she stumbles into a nest of robbers in this tale baked with magic, fun, and friendship!
Evie Baker is a great story-teller, an avid prankster, and a fantastic baker. And while she loves her parent's bakery, she has no plans to stay in their small town and become stuffy or static. Evie wants to go on adventures and she knows just what she needs to do it!
With her best friend, Cecily, by her side, Evie sets off into the Old Forest to find one of the Fel, a group of crow-like magical creatures who can't lie. She is sure her family's irresistible raspberry tart and a carefully crafted deal will get them to take her on a magical adventure--without getting her eaten or worse. But the forest hides many dangers and when they finally find their Fel, they also discover a nest of robbers!
Having seen the Robber Lord's face, Evie is whisked away into hiding for her own protection. But even in the queen's own city, trouble has a way of finding her...
YA novelist Caitlin Sangster makes her middle-grade debut in this fun fairytale filled with adventure, friendship, baking, and the power of a tale well-told.
Read The First Chapter
“Once upon a time there was a beautiful queen—”
“Who cares if Saint Hart was beautiful, Cece? She was a warrior.”
“Because queens just are beautiful. They have money and servants and all the honey they can drink and great big flowery hats—”
“If your job is to kill magical beasts who are trying to eat you, would you take the time to put on lipstick?”
“Back to the story, where our queen—who was not wearing lipstick, but had wild raven locks and perfectly tweezed eyebrows—”
“And a sword black as night. Black as crow feathers and just as bright.”
“Wait, are we rhyming now? I’m not good at rhyming, Evie.”
“The Fel had been gobbling settlers down with their great crow beaks, stealing babies and eating all the…er… leeks.”
“See, you aren’t any good at it either.”
“Well, I don’t like leeks. But the Saint-Queen did, and she was angry there were no leeks for her egg croissants, so she took her great black sword and searched and searched until she found the Fel King.”
“Because Fel are cowards. And very scared of swords.”
“No, because Fel like to make deals. They have all the magic in the world, but it doesn’t work unless they make a deal with a human. Now, Saint Hart knew that Fel were tricky. No matter what kind of deal she made with the Fel king, she knew he would try to twist it so he got all the magic and she got nothing.”
“But how could he do that? Everyone knows Fel can’t lie.”
“Fel can’t lie, but if you aren’t careful, then you might use the wrong words. You might ask for all the stolen leeks back and then the Fel will snap and make all the leeks in the entire world appear right on top of your head and then you drown with that terrible leeky taste in your mouth.”
“Or maybe you’d sprout leaks and all your insides would come out.”
“I don’t know how particular they are about spelling. Well, Saint Hart was too smart to sprout leaks or drown in leeks or even to ask about a good recipe for egg croissants. She put her Hartelismi sword to the Fel King’s gullet and said—”
“Ouch, Evie! There’s no need to demonstrate!”
“Saint Hart said, ‘this is my deal: you send your army of Fel back to the Old Forest where they belong. If your beasties come out to steal so much as a toenail clipping, I will slit your throat. You stay here doing magic for me and make sure your friends stay in the forest as old crows and I’ll let you live.”
“My Pop’ll be after yours to buy me a new dress now that you’ve put a hole in this one. Ahem. The Fel King has been living in the shadows of the castle ever since, passed down like the most dangerous of heirlooms. In exchange for his life and his magic, the rest of the Fel keep their beaks to the Old Forest, looking for ways to wriggle out of their king’s deal. All the Fel banished to the Old Forest are shy of humans—worried they’ll pull the same trick Saint Hart did, using a sword to make sure she got what she wanted. Mostly, they take people by surprise, gobbling them up like fried potatoes before they can ask for any sort of exchange. Only the bravest go into the Forest to seek them and their magic.”
“And only the smartest come back out.”