The Prince’s Man (The Five Kingdoms #1)


FANTASY:  "The Prince’s Man" is an epic fantasy with an unlikely team-up between an illegitimate young ladies’ man (undercover spy/assassin) and a noblewoman (also an illicit assassin). They are tasked by their spymaster, Prince Halnashead, to uncover a plot against their rightful ruler. Lady Risada has nothing but contempt for Rustam. His major skill is using his considerable looks to seduce susceptible ladies to get information for the Prince.  She dislikes Rustam because of his mother (who she blames for her parent’s murder by an unknown, magic-using assassin), but Rustam thinks it’s mainly related to his bastardy. The discovery of an elf prisoner in the dungeon of Lord Melcard (suspected traitor), could be an aid in forming an alliance to save their kingdom. The prince’s daughter orders the reluctant partners to take the debilitated elf to the Kingdom of Kishtan, whose Queen has elven blood.  Facing magical/dangerous creatures and an unknown powerful, wicked enemy, Risada and Rustam are forced to rely on each other and develop a fragile bond of trust that could lead to love.


This is a diverting, character-driven fantasy book. Rustam is endearing, despite his vanity.  His insecurities flesh him out and add to his appeal.  Risada is less likable, especially with her treatment of Rustam.  Her snobbery in the face of his continual loyalty and bravery felt petty.  It was hard to believe that Rustam could fall for someone so mean to him.  However, “The Prince’s Man” succeeds in strong world-building, descriptive imagery, and well-plotted adventure make this a satisfying fantasy read.

Danielle Hill