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In the back of Fly By Night, Frances Hardinge gives us the following warning: "This is not a historical novel. It is a yarn. Although the Realm is based roughly on England at the start of the eighteenth century, I have taken appalling liberties with historical authenticity and, when I felt like it, the laws of physics."

What she fails to mention is that it's a rollicking good yarn. It follows the adventures (and mis-adventures) of Mosca Mye. Her problem is she loves words of all shapes and sizes (her father broke convention and taught her to read before he conventionally died) but she lives in a world where most folks fear education and distrust any sort of writing. In trying to better herself and broaden her horizons she encounters a variety of colourful characters, from con men to tradesmen, dutchesses to revolutionaries. Written by, for and about bibliophiles; Fly By Night is ultimately a story about the power of words, and whether this power should be feared or embraced.


This is absolutley brilliant, too...In fourth grade, I attempted to memorize so I wouldn't have to keep checking it out from the library. I failed, if you're wondering.