|This was a delightful YA curl-up-in-a-comfy chair kind of tale.
Tiki and her foursome are pickpockets who live in an abandoned clockmaker’s shop near
Charing Cross Road
station in 1871
Tiki (born Tara Kathleen which I like better as a name than Tiki which of course sounds a lot like Kiki) was born into nice middle class circumstances but then her parents died of the fever one after the other. Kiki went to live with an aunt and unclebut the uncle was creepy and Tiki did not feel safe around him, especially when he drank. So she left their home and tried to find a friend of her mother’s but she’d died of the fever, too.
Tiki’s only resort was living out on the streets where she would have starved had kind-hearted Fiona not found her and taught her the tricks of the pickpocketing trade.
So, Tiki lives with Toots, Fiona, Shamus and little Clara eking out a living on the very unkind streets of Victorian London picking pockets and stealing whatever they can.
Until one evening out walking, she is lured by an open door into a mouth-watering kitchen down by St. James Parkand finds she’s entered Buckingham Palace where Queen Victoria and her many children are in residence. A huge party is going on and the kitchen is a madhouse, allowing Tiki to sneak in unnoticed.
She wanders through the palace and enters a tiny octagonal room that she decides to explore, when footsteps and voices coming near make her dodge under the big desk.
Two of the princes enter, Leopold and Arthur, and in the midst of their talking, Leo pulls out a tiny box from a safe and shows his brother the faerie ring that represents a truce between the fey and
. The fey will keep out of human affairs as long as the ring is held by
Leo drops the ring when his mother unexpectedly comes into the room and chivies both her sons out to the grand party going on. This leaves Tiki staring at the faerie ring. A ring that once fenced would undoubtedly keep her little family in food and shelter for some time, so she steals it.
And the adventure begins!
The fey want the ring for if they get it the truce is off and they can reclaim the lands the humans have overrun and to complicate things further, the Seelie and Unseelie courts are fighting among themselves.
And humanity is going to get the short end of the deal if the fey come back from Otherworld and overwhelm
One of Tiki’s friends is a handsome pickpocket named Rieker a few years older than she whom she frequently meets in
station. The two strike up a friendship.
Tiki doesn’t know what to make of Rieker. Is he trying to help her out or is he trying to steal the ring? His usual turf doesn’t overlap Tiki’s.
Tiki decides to return the ring to Buckingham and hide it there so she can claim a five hundred pound reward. To do that, she goes to a masked ball there with Rieker. (She purchased a fancy used dress in
At the party she finds out that Rieker is “Wills” an old friend of the two princes and a wealthy man in his own right.
But there’s even more to Rieker than hiding his wealth. And we discover there’s more to Tiki, as well when the fey ratchet up their attempts to keep Tiki from returning the ring to
. Larkin, a fey woman of exceptional beauty, keeps crossing paths with Tiki hinting she knows Tiki has the ring. She kidnaps little Clara who is very ill with what sounds like the croup. So: Tiki can have Clara back if Larkin gets the ring.
Who will win? The fey or Tiki. And what happens between Rieker and Tiki?
Got to read the book to find out! ~~ Sue Martin