This is the first book I’ve finished for the 48 Hour Reading Challenge. It’s also the last published book in one of my formerly unfinished series.
The Cup and the Crown by Diane Stanley
In <em>The Silver Bowl, our heroine, Molly, started having visions that led her to saving the prince. She also learned that her mother and grandfather before had had similar visions, but that hers is not a safe country in which to have visions.
Now she is Lady Marguerite, granted an estate by King Alaric, who now wants her to help him again. He needs to make a good political marriage, and wants her to bring back one of the magical loving cups that her grandfather made to help him. The Lady Marguerite would much rather still be Molly, but she’s happy for a chance to follow the visions of the cup she’s been having: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if, just this once, it portended something good?” She takes a mixed party with her: her friends Tobias and Winifred, an older lord who’s not really convinced that Alaric is old enough to be king, and someone whom the king tells her is his valet. The journey is roundabout, but, helped by a raven, they end up at the hidden city her grandfather left years earlier. And now Molly’s troubles begin in earnest. The hidden city is one where Molly’s particular kind of magic is highly valued. They’re thrilled to have a lost member returned to them, but No Outsiders Must Know of Their Existence. (This is somehow reminding me of this XKCD comic: http://xkcd.com/515/) Even as she’s feeling that she’s come home for the first time, Molly has to find a way both to take advantage of training in her skills and to get her friends out alive. Not to mention the matter of the cup, which will involve the help of her newly-found cousin, Jakob. There’s also decisions to be made about where Molly should make her home, and whether or not she can develop her friendship with Tobias further. Like its predecessor, this is a nice character-focused book with enough action to keep the story moving.