In 12th-century England, fourteen-year-old Rhiannon is fascinated by the fate of King Henry’s White Ship, wrecked just months before. After all, many of the passengers who perished were not much older than Rhia herself. Soon, however, Rhia’s thoughts turn in another direction when a man is found murdered in nearby Woethersly. When Jim, one of the kindly locals, is accused of the crime, Rhia determines to clear his name by searching for the real murderer. Her quest will not only put her and her friends in danger, but lead to another question: Did the king’s son survive the wreck of the White Ship?
Rhia is resourceful and endearing, as are the friends, old and new, she enlists in her mission. There’s a large, varied cast of characters, from Rhia’s healer mother to a handsome young oblate to some loutish young aristocrats to Rhia’s aged, noisy, and protective groshawke, Gramp.
Grove’s prose style is highly readable, with turns of phrase that give her narrative a medieval feel. With its blend of mystery, adventure, and romance, and even a dash of the supernatural, this is a novel that young readers should thoroughly enjoy.