Another great novel in the Five Hundred Kingdom series. One Good Knight gives us Lackey's witty twist on tales where the maiden is to be sacrificed to...moreAnother great novel in the Five Hundred Kingdom series. One Good Knight gives us Lackey's witty twist on tales where the maiden is to be sacrificed to the marauding dragon unless a champion can save her.
Princess Andromeda is our maiden living in the seaside kingdom of Acadia (having a very "Ancient Greece" feel to it), which is ruled by cold, ambitious Queen Cassiopeia. Andie, as Andromeda is called, being terribly nearsighted, bookish, and not fashion-conscious, feels as if there is nothing she can do to please her beautiful, stylish mother. In an attempt to show her mother that despite her flaws she can be a valuable asset to the Court, she researches information about the foreign merchants with whom the Queen will be negotiating. Cassiopeia ignores Andie's verbal report of facts and figures and tells her to "run along". Despite feeling rejected, Andie takes advantage of that dismissal (because she knows it leaves her unsupervised by one of her many tutors, Royal Guardsmen, and her most recent governess) and climbs the steps up the cliff leading to the Sea-Watch Guard overlooking the Palace and the city of Ethanos. As she often does after giving the Sea-Watch Guard his lunch, Andie settles down on the landing just below his observation platform to eat her own lunch, look at the city, and read. Suddenly, it dawns on her, that she can offer the same facts & figures that she told her mother, but put them in written form and give them to the Queen's Chief Adviser Solon Adacritus. She figures that if she flatters him and acts as if she's using him just to verify the facts, he might be suitably impressed to take her on permanently as one of his researchers.
Andie's plan succeeds, and her mother suddenly realizes that her daughter has grown up and has a purpose. The Queen dismisses Andie's governess and tutors, changes her Guards, supplies her with her own personal servants, and allows Andie the freedom to run her own household. Solon adds that she will research and supply reports for him in relation to the Queen's needs and be assigned a personal secretary to assist her. On the following day, Andie's life changes dramatically and for the better when all of these promises take action.
But Andie does her job a bit too well. In addition to noticing discrepancies in many of the Court records, she is called upon to discover the best way to resolve the problem when a dragon suddenly attacks the Palace. To her horror, she discovers that the Tradition dictates that the best way to appease the dragon is by making regular virgin sacrifices. Andie feels more & more responsible for the deaths of these young girls as the dragon continues to raid Ethanos and the surrounding countryside. A Champion is sent for, but before one arrives, everyone is shocked when Princess Andromeda's name is chosen in the maiden lottery.
Even knowing Lackey twists our expectations away from predictable fairy tale endings in her Five Hundred Kingdoms series, the reader will be quite surprised at what follows. Our Princess is plucky and book smart, but can someone as sheltered as Andie fight and kill a dragon?
In my opinion, One Good Knight is even more successful than The Fairy Godmother and Sleeping Beauty in regard to plot twists and turns to keep the reader guessing all the way to the end.
It was also fun that we get glimpses throughout this story of The Fairy Godmother's Godmother Elena and Alexander trying to breach Acadia's magical border, which is preventing them from sending any Champions to help.
If this is any indication of what lies ahead, I'm even more excited to read Fortune's Fool (Book 3) and The Snow Queen (Book 4)!(less)