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:
- Abdicate the Throne: Queen Augusta.
- Action Girl
- Anyone Can Die
- Aristocrats Are Evil
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: Zara
- Bittersweet Ending
- Broken Bird: Justin
- Brother-Sister Team: Sparrow and Weasel
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Constantine and Mickle/Queen Augusta are both competent monarchs, but Mickle is a Tomboy Princess and Constantine tends to act like an Upper-Class Twit.
- Dressing as the Enemy
- Ermine Cape Effect: Inverted with Constantine
- Evil Chancellor: Cabbarus
- Fantasy World Map: 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.
- Fiery Redhead: Zara
- The French Revolution: Draws heavily on this, including the establishment of a consular triumvirate at the end of The Kestrel. (On the other hand, the monarchy and the rebels are allied against Cabbarus.)
- Friend or Foe: 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) Dressing as the Enemy.
- Friendly Enemy: Florian is a republican, but he and Mickle are pretty good friends.
- Heroic BSOD: Theo in The Kestrel after Stock dies.
- Kill 'em All
- La Résistance: Florian's children are a subversion. They're a republican military force and Voice of the Resistance in an absolute monarchy, but they work alongside the monarchy rather than fight it directly, especially once Mickle takes over.
- Last Minute Hookup
- Lovable Rogue: Las Bombas
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Constantine is particularly great example of this.
- Purple Eyes: Justin
- Rags to Royalty: Mickle.
- Rebel Leader: Florian and Justin.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something
- Significant Anagram: All of Las Bombas's aliases are anagrams.
- Street Urchin: Mickle, Sparrow, and Weasel.
- Suicide by Cop: Zara
- Tomboy Princess: Mickle
- Upper-Class Twit: Constantine is a subversion. He acts like one, but is actually anything but a twit.
- Voice of the Resistance: Keller's newspaper.
- Warrior Poet: Stock
- War Is Hell: The Kestrel is all about the effects of war upon those who fight it, most especially Theo himself.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Justin's unhappy with the compromises Florian is willing to make with the monarchy.