THE CITY IN THE LAKE, by Rachel Neumeier (Knopf 2008). Old magic is stirring at the borders of the Kingdom, until now held at bay by the "Kingdom's Heart," mysteriously associated with the king's son, Prince Cassiel. When the prince goes missing, the entire kingdom is affected by stillbirths and other strange occurrences.
In a small, remote village, the mage Kapoen, who is training his seventeen-year old daughter Timou in his craft, suddenly leaves to find answers in the capital city. But when he disappears, Timou decides to undertake the dangerous journey herself. Can Timou save her father, the Prince, and the Kingdom?
In this elegant first novel, Neumeier presents an atmospheric world of intrigue and treachery. Characters and setting are finely wrought and the story is suspenseful and gripping. Highly recommended.