If Fabrizio can't find a way to save his master, Mangus the magician, he'll be executed or sentenced to die in prison. But can a son of ragpickers, who has spent nearly all his life on the streets, solve a mystery that even Mangus has given up on?
Fabrizio knows how lucky he is. He no longer has to live on the street. He has a job and a bed, and even a few coins in his pocket. He's Mangus the Magician's assistant, even if Mangus insists he doesn't need an assistant, and is grouchy and difficult to please. Mistress Sophia hired him, and while she is gone, tending to her sister, she expects Fabrizio to be so helpful that by the time she returns, Mangus will be willing to admit he does need an assistant. But the harder Fabrizio works to please Mangus, the more trouble he causes.
The morning after one of Mangus's performances, the king's Chief Prosecutor comes to see him. The king has forbidden the practice of real magic, and despite Mangus' vow that he has only created illusions, he is accused of doing real magic, and is thrown in prison. With his Mistress out of town, and no way to contact her, Fabrizio knows he is Mangus's only hope of survival.
But he's only ten years old, and has spent those years learning to survive on the street, not in a royal palace full of plots and intrigues, as two different men plot to kill the king and take his throne. Fabrizio will need everything he's ever learned to figure out who the real traitor is, and bring him to justice before the king decides to kill Mangus.
This booktalk was written by Dr. Joni R. Bodart