On an island of sandy beaches, dense jungles, and slumbering volcanoes, colonists seek to apply archaic laws to a new land, bounty hunters stalk the living for the ashes of their funerary pyres, and a smiling tribe is despised by all as traitorous murderers. It is here, in the midst of ancient tensions and new calamity, that two sisters are caught in a deadly web of deceits.
Arilou is proclaimed a beautiful prophetessone of the island's precious oracles: a Lost. Hathin, her junior, is her nearly invisible attendant. But neither Arilou nor Hathin is exactly what she seems, and they live a lie that is carefully constructed and jealously guarded.
When the sisters are unknowingly drawn into a sinister, island-wide conspiracy, quiet, unobtrusive Hathin must journey beyond all she has ever known of her worldand of herselfin a desperate attempt to save them both. As the stakes mount and falsehoods unravel, she discovers that the only thing more dangerous than the secret she hides is the truth she must uncover.
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"Starred Review. Brilliantly conceived, perfectly executed and utterly mesmerizing. Ages 12+." - Kirkus Reviews
"The author is as inventive with language as she is with social and cultural constructs. This novel is just plain fun." - School Library Journal
"Starred Review. A perfectly pitched, hopeful ending caps off this standout adventure." - Booklist
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Frances Hardinge spent her childhood in a huge, isolated old house in a small, strange village, and the two things inspired her to write strange, magical stories from an early age. She studied English at Oxford University and was bullied by a persistent friend into letting a publisher read the opening chapters of Fly By Night, her first novel, an astonishing literary debut and work of the imagination that was short-listed for the Guardian Award. She lives in Oxford, England.
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