BLOODLINE, by Katy Moran (Candlewick 2009)(ages 12+). In this historical fantasy, Moran takes us back to seventh century Britain, where petty kings vie for control over the island.
Caught in the middle is Essa, son of Cai, a wandering scop (and more), who abandoned him to a village that's now in the sights of two warlords. As armies approach, Essa undertakes a journey to save those he loves, unsure who he can really trust, always wondering why his father abandoned him and the truth about his mother and who he really is.
BLOODLINE is a sophisticated and thoroughly enjoyable and thrilling adventure -- a story of warring kingdoms, an epic quest, and a touch of elf-magic. Through elegant prose, Moran compellingly and convincingly draws the reader into Essa's story and the mists of Dark Age Britain.