Twelve-year-old Elodie works hard to keep a clean house for her master, take care of her little brother, and guard the secret pagan beliefs she was taught by the mother they recently lost. But the world around her is growing suspicious of non-Christians. When Crusaders arrive to arrest her kindly master, he flees, and the orphans Elodie and Bertran try to follow his trail.

Armed only with meagre supplies and a few good stories, and accompanied—to Elodie’s dismay—by Bertran’s pet chicken, they soon become lost in the woods. Luckily, they stumble upon a penniless female troubadour, Joie, who has mysteriously left court life and appears eager to help. To earn money and food, the trio improvises a spectacle involving storytelling, music, and a chicken-assisted magic trick.

But when Joie’s own secrets emerge, Elodie is faced with a new dilemma. With Crusaders hovering and a voracious audience clamouring, Elodie realizes that, to save herself and Bertran, she’ll need to decide who to trust—and who to betray.


“An adventure, a quest, a tale of found family, and of the power of stories . . . Boorman brings us on a journey that veers from hi-jinks to heartbreak. I adore this book.”

–Dana Alison Levy, acclaimed author of the Family Fletcher books

“Gripping, enchanting, and funny, this is a truly beautiful story about the secrets we keep, the timeless search for belonging, and the possibilities of wonder.”

      –Alison Hughes, author of Fly and Over the Top