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A trilogy by Creator/LloydAlexander.
''Westmark'': King Augustine of Westmark is ill, still grieving over his daughter's death years ago. Chief Minister Cabbarus controls the country. After illegally using a printing press, Theo finds himself on the run with Musket and Las Bombas, a team of con artists. They meet a street girl named Mickle who uses her talent for mimicry to aid their schemes. When Theo's guilt over deceiving people causes him to leave the group, he falls in with Florian's children, a group of revolutionaries who plan to end the monarchy.
''The Kestrel'': Westmark's neighbor Regia invades. Mickle leads her country's army in the war, and Theo becomes the bloodthirsty soldier known as the Kestrel.
''The Beggar Queen'': Mickle is now reluctantly Queen Augusta. Cabbarus has been banished from Westmark but plots his return. And Florian's revolutionaries still wish for the country to become a republic.
!!This series includes examples of:
%%* AbdicateTheThrone: [[spoiler:Queen Augusta.]]
%%* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: [[spoiler:Zara]]
* BittersweetEnding: The trilogy ends with [[spoiler:the country retaken, the people finally given a democracy, and Theo and Mickle married after years and two books of waiting; but with half the supporting cast dead including all of Florian's "children" besides Theo and the companions going into semi-voluntary exile]].
%%* BrokenBird: Justin
%%* BrotherSisterTeam: Sparrow and Weasel
* BunnyEarsLawyer: Constantine and Mickle/Queen Augusta are both competent monarchs, but Mickle is a TomboyPrincess and Constantine tends to act like an UpperClassTwit.
%%* ErmineCapeEffect: Inverted with Constantine
** Cabbarus manipulates the king's grief over his dead daughter... but it all gets blown sky high when [[spoiler:the daughter turns out to be NotQuiteDead]].
** In ''The Kestrel'', the king of the next country over has an EvilUncle doubling as an Evil Chancellor, too.
* FantasyWorldMap: ''Westmark'' has a map of the three countries, ''The Kestrel'' has a map of Westmark, and ''The Beggar Queen'' has a map of capital city Marianstat.
%%* FieryRedhead: Zara
* FriendOrFoe: In ''The Kestrel'', a battle-mad Theo shoots a Regian soldier before he realizes it's actually his queen (and, to make it worse, his betrothed) DressingAsTheEnemy.
* FriendlyEnemy: Florian is a republican, but he and Mickle are pretty good friends.
* HeroicBSOD: Theo in ''The Kestrel'' after [[spoiler: Stock dies]].
* KillEmAll: Any character with a name had a fifty-fifty chance of making it out of book 3 alive. There were more deaths than in the previous two books combined--and the second book took place during a war.
* LaResistance: Florian's children are a subversion. They're a republican military force and VoiceOfTheResistance in an absolute monarchy, but they work alongside the monarchy rather than fight it directly, especially once Mickle takes over.
%%* LovableRogue: Las Bombas
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Constantine is particularly great example of this.
%%* PurpleEyes: Justin
%%* RagsToRoyalty: Mickle.
%%* RebelLeader: Florian and Justin.
* SignificantAnagram: All of Las Bombas's aliases are anagrams.
%%* StreetUrchin: Mickle, Sparrow, and Weasel.
%%* SuicideByCop: [[spoiler:Zara]]
%%* TomboyPrincess: Mickle
* UpperClassTwit: Constantine is a subversion. He ''acts'' like one, but is actually anything but a twit.
* VoiceOfTheResistance: Keller's newspaper, one of the few that dares to criticize Cabbarus.
%%* WarriorPoet: Stock
* WarIsHell: ''The Kestrel'' is all about the effects of war upon those who fight it, most especially Theo himself.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Justin's unhappy with the compromises Florian is willing to make with the monarchy.