15-year-old Marieke disguises herself at the elite all-male archers' guild of Saint Sebastian, the most prestigious institution of Ardennes and the place she suspects houses her father's brutal killers. Here every year the twelve best young archers in the country compete as Journeymen in a series of grueling public competitions: six will win permanent guild membership; one will win a coveted spot on the prince's bodyguard. Marieke's been obsessed with St. Sebastian's for as long as she can remember, but when she flees to the guild for refuge, there are really only two things she knows about the place: one is that a mysterious injury ended her own father's Journey days.
There are no women allowed inside Saint Sebastian's. Marieke knows disguising herself as a boy at the guild means embarking on a dangerous deception. But it might be her only chance to find out the truth about her father's past, and to keep a deadly plot from coming to fruition. And when the handsome young Journey Tristan takes her under his wing as his squire, she's got to stay - at least long enough to help him beat out his bitter rival to pass the guild trials.
Keeping her identity hidden will be hard. Living among all those gorgeous boys,
without giving herself away? That will be harder still. But the hardest thing of all will be keeping the vow she makes for herself: to see Tristan become the next Guardsman, without ever letting him discover her secrets.
Robin Hood meets Mulan and Princess Bride in this frothy but literate coming-of-age romp through 14th century Belgium that's packed with romance, wit, a hint of mystery, and plenty of longbow archery competitions.