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Download The Decoy Princess epub

by Dawn Cook

The Princess Contessa of Constenopolie has just learned of her true identity-that of an orphan adopted and raised as a decoy to protect the real princess. That doesn't make Contessa less of a royal target.
Download The Decoy Princess epub
ISBN: 0441013554
ISBN13: 978-0441013555
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Action & Adventure
Author: Dawn Cook
Language: English
Publisher: Ace; Reissue edition (November 29, 2005)
ePUB size: 1754 kb
FB2 size: 1816 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 201
Other Formats: rtf azw txt lrf

The Decoy Princess is a fairly solid effort from Dawn Cook. The main character, Tess, has been raised as the princess of her realm all her life, only to find out during her marriage negotiations that she is not the real princess at all; she has been a decoy used to safeguard the real princess, who has been raised in hiding. Unfortunately, the man who is her intended finds out too and all hell breaks loose. He unleashes his soldiers on the palace, Tess's adoptive parents are slaughtered in front of her eyes, and before she knows it, she's on the run, her only hope to find her mentor, the Chancellor Kavenlow who raised her as his own and taught her everything she knows. Kavenlow's lessons serve her in good stead as she meets and overcomes challenges and obstacles throughout her journey. But on the way she learns that neither Kavenlow nor she herself are all that they appear to be...

Tess is an engaging and likeable character. She is wonderfully competent (a blessing after the likes of Sansa from GRRM's ASOIAF), while at the same time not sliding into Mary Sue territory (a blessing after the likes of Rhapsody from Elizabeth Haydon's series of the same name). Watching her outwit and outthink her enemies is fun, and the poison darts that she wears in her topknot are a great touch. Given to her by Kavenlow as a defense against assassins (or so he told her), they turn out to be much more. (I *loved* the idea of the darts--I gave the book an extra star just for them alone--and I will say I don't think the picture on the cover does them justice.) There are several very good moments throughout the book as well; my favorite is when she finally finds and confronts the real princess, but the final confrontation with her intended and with Jeck is another stand-out scene.

However, there are a couple of things that keep me from giving this book a full five stars. Several of the character interactions seem rather romance-novel-like, such as her interactions with Jeck, or with the cardsharp (cannot remember his name at the moment). Which is fine if you like that sort of thing, but it doesn't really do much for me. Also the whole book seems rather limited in scope and doesn't really rise to the level of epic IMO, possibly because of the limited focus of the book (told exclusively in the first person from Tess's viewpoint). Now there's nothing wrong with smaller-scale works and in fact after the likes of the bloated Wheel of Time and ASOIAF, one could argue the fantasy field could *use* an infusion of smaller-scale works. However, it is possible to go small and still keep the epic, engrossing feel of larger works (witness Bujold's Curse of Chalion, for example), and I wasn't really getting that here. Still, this is a good read that held my interest throughout the whole book and I may go on to check out the rest of the series.
This fun book reads much like Robin Hobb's outstanding Farseer series; not quite as great but solidly above the mainstream nevertheless. All the elements of a great heroic fantasy are found within these pages. There is plenty of political intrigue, lots of captivating characters, rousing action, terrific pacing, and a solid albeit not horribly original plot. Tess, the heroine, is pretty believable as a somewhat spoiled princess who was tricked by her mentor Kavenlow into learning the skills necessary to escape Prince Garrett's evil clutches, outwit guard captain Jeck, and do what is necessary to survive as a royal decoy on the run. Were it not written in first person I doubt the author could have plausibly pulled all that off. Tess's level-headedness after the murder of her parents, the Misdev occupation, and her flight to freedom strikes the right balance to affirm her skills and potential without coming across as overdone or trite. I enjoy characters that rely more on their brains than their brawn and Tess has a charming way of finding practical uses for skills like shopping to as great extent as she does with blowguns and poison darts. She is quick-witted and alluring. Duncan, the card shark, makes a likeable sidekick/distraction. I really like the "players" concept too. It builds another level of intrigue and excitement.

Overall this is a fine fantasy. Not superlative, but very well worth reading nevertheless. I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel, Princess at Sea.

Lawrence Kane
Author of Blinded by the Night, among other titles
Some of the reviews I've read about this book have been a little harsh. Sure there are problems with the length and usefulness of a whip stashed beneath the so called "princess's" dress, or the darts that really couldn't puncture a balloon, but for me, those things didn't really distract from the story, which I heartily enjoyed. My main disappointment with this book was that it took the entire thing to get to the good part, and then I was left hanging. I've heard the sequel will put my wishful desires to rest, but still, I wanted a little more substance to formulate before the last page ended. Yet, I suppose "The Decoy Princess" accomplished its purpose if that was to get me to read the second book. I'll let you know how it goes.