A series of fantasy novels for young adults by author Hilari Bell. The books focus on the Odd Couple of Sir Michael, a Knight Errant, and his squire, Fisk (a former conman). The two start out very much on the opposite ends of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism (guess who is at which end). They travel together through a made-up country that sounds remarkably like Western Europe at the tail-end of the medieval ages, where feudalism is losing hold and industry and the middle class are starting to take over. All this however just minus the Catholic Church (or really any religion of any kind) but with lots of magic around that can kill you!
The two leads mostly play Nancy Drew to several mysteries they happen to stumble upon in their travels. Michael is all for figuring them out and helping people, while Fisk just wants them to get through things alive and preferably not imprisoned.
- The Last Knight
- Rogue's Home
- Player's Ruse
- Thief's War
- Scholar's Plot
- Lady's Pursuit
The series has been completed with the release of "Lady's Pursuit".
The Knight & Rogue Series provides examples of:
- A True Story in My Universe: The play Makejoye writes in Player's Ruse is more or less about Michael and Rudy competing for Rosamund.
- All Crimes Are Equal: No matter what you did, if you can't meet the conditions set by whoever redeems you, you can be marked.
- All Is Well That Ends Well: Most blatant in Player's Ruse, where Michael declares his plan to catch the wreckers a success in spite of having come within inches of dying during the whole fiasco. Fisk is not amused.
- Amateur Sleuth: Though unlike most examples they seem to be capable of not encountering crime everywhere they go.
- Amusing Injuries: Pretty much everything that happens to Michael while he's destroying magica plants to try and contact a savant who only comes when there's trouble.
- Arrested for Heroism: Anytime Michael gets in trouble with the law, this is involved.
- Asshole Victim:
- Thrope, in Rogue's Home
- Hotchkiss in Scholar's Plot. So many people didn't like him that there's no good starting place in looking for someone with a motive.
- Maxwell counts too, but only in regards to Fisk and Michael. They litterally save him and his family from a life of poverty only FIVE YEARS after he kicked Fisk out with the promise he'd provide for Fisk's sisters and how does he repay them? By kicking them out again. Even his offer to send Fisk to University was a thinly veiled attempt to get him out of town without looking like a dick... he failed in that regard.
- Aura Vision: Michael's ability to see magica in other objects.
- Bad-Guy Bar: In Rogue's Home. Fisk is on good terms with the people there.
- Bad Liar: Michael, whenever he actually does lie. His reputation as a terrible liar makes it all the more convincing on the rare occasion where he manages not to tip his hand.
- Bad Moon Rising: The unnamed planet they are on has two moons: the golden Creature Moon and the Green Moon. They are both heavily tied to the dangerously chaotic magic (Creature animal, Green plants) that inhabits the place.
- Bail Equals Freedom: Averted surprisingly hard for a fantasy series with its own legal system.
- Bar Brawl: One of the men on trial with Fisk in the first book was arrested for getting involved in one.
- Bathroom Stall Graffiti: Reading it is how Michael learned to brew an illegal drug.
- Battle in the Rain: The climax of Player's Ruse has Michael and Fisk fight against the wreckers in the middle of a heavy storm.
- Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: In the last two books Kathy joins the group as a permanent member filling in the beauty part. Though she's described as being distinctly average looking she's certainly prettier than Fisk and Michael and has a tendency to be wearing unnecessarily fancy clothing since she's supposed to be attempting to court a Prince at the time.
- Be as Unhelpful as Possible: One of the potential suspect's in Max's framing is happy to demand money to tell a long, drawn out and useless story, and only give information that's a matter of public record.
- Because I'm Good At It: Fisk initially took to being a con artist to support his sisters, but mostly uses it later because coming up with stories on the spot is one of his better skills.
- Beleaguered Assistant: Fisk, in The Last Knight. He becomes more of an exasperated friend once Michael grows on him.
- Bench Breaker: Michael, when chained to a bed by Lady Ceciel.
- Big Sister Bully: Judith. Even though all she does as an adult is one up Fisk in arguments, he's still sore about their childhood.
- Blackmail: Hotchkiss was blackmailing a number of professors and students. He attempted to blackmail Benton as well, but his hints that he had incriminating information and wanted money went over Benton's head.
- Brainless Beauty: Rosamund is regarded by much of the cast as the most beautiful female in the story, but is also described as a ninny by Fisk, and even her family, Kathy, struggles to compliment her beyond saying she's nice.
- Brains and Brawn: Fisk and Michael. Fisk can fight and Michael does have a brain, but Fisk is the smarter of the two and doesn't fight nearly as often.
- Break the Cutie: Michael, in the beginning of Rogue's Home. He gets better.
- Breaking the Fellowship: ''Thief's War ends with Michael so furious over Jack and Fisk so upset by the idea that he's always a follower that the two split up.
- Bring Help Back: The initial plan when Michael is captured by Lady Ceciel.
- Call-Back: In Player's Ruse Burke mentions Aquilas, the drug that Michael and Fisk use in The Last Knight.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Michael hates lying, but the one time Fisk convinces him to just tell a half-truth he ends up beaten by four men.
- Capital Letters Are Magic: The special small abilities and magic sensing power that some people have are called Gifts, and those who have Gifts are referred to as Gifted.
- Chekhov's Gun: Aquilas gets referenced at the start of the first book as a drug Ceciel might be under that could complicate her rescue. Michael and Fisk end up resorting to dosing her with it in order to escape her capture in the climax.
- Children Are Special: In a twisted version of the trope, only children are known to use full fledged magic because only the mentally impaired can be born with any magic in the first place, and they rarely, if ever, live to adulthood. Since he obtained his magic artificially, Michael is an exception to this rule.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Oh, Michael. When will you stop trying to save people who would gladly kill you?
- Clear Their Name:
- Fisk is called home in Rogue's Home to prove his brother-in-law wasn't bribed to wrongfully hang someone.
- Michael is called to Benton's school in Scholar's Plot when his brother is framed for plagiarism,
- Compelling Voice: By the fourth book, Michael has discovered that when he combines his enhancement magic with his animal handling Gift he can make it work on people. He deliberately doesn't see how far he can go with this, but implies that he could essentially force a woman to trust him if he so desired.
- Contrived Coincidence: After asking around town about Hackle for a few days, the stable boy who just happens to be near by that Fisk just happens to point to when saying they may as well have asked him turns out to have the only person with information on Hackle.
- Convicted by Public Opinion: Michael, in Rogues's Home.
- Cool Old Lady: Nettie's Ma, an older woman who exiled herself from society and went to live in the marish, who offers Michael some much needed wisdom and is confident enough in her ability to maneuver the marish to volunteer to play decoy and lead a murderer on a goose chase.
- Cranky Landlord: Mrs. Inger, the landlady Michael and Fisk live under the roof of at the start of book three, who acts immediately suspicious of them and refuses to believe Rosamund.
- Cursed with Awesome: Michael after the first book. He spends a lot of time bemoaning how terrible it is to be able to see magic in plants, give himself and others super strength, and effectively fly. And as Fisk points out, every time his magic shows up it saves his life, so he doesn't have much to complain about.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Fisk losing both his parents at a young age and having to turn to crime in order to help support his sisters. For bonus points, his master betrays him and his brother in law more or less banishes him for being involved in crime.
- Deadpan Snarker: Fisk most often in response to Michael.
- Death by Origin Story: Fisk's father died from a cold caught be carelessly reading a book in the rain, and his mother died in an influenza pandemic that rocked their city.
- Destroy the Evidence: The villains of both Rogue's Home and Scholar's Plot attempt to get rid of incriminating records by burning down the whole building containing them.
- Didn't Think This Through: It isn't until after becoming unredeemed that Michael realizes no one will trust him.
- Die or Fly: When the wreckers throw Michael off a cliff.
- Disproportionate Retribution:
- The captain of the Albatross has Michael flogged for accidentally spilling paint.
- The legal system is actually a little broken. If you get into a bar fight and somebody redeems you, but you refuse to do what they say in order to repay your debt, you can be tattooed as a permanently unredeemed criminal and be forever outside the law.
- Distressed Dude: Despite being the knight, Michael is the most likely character to need being rescued.
- Both Michael and Fisk simultaneously play this role in Thief's War, with Roseman holding them hostage against one another, and them needing to subtly make it possible for one another to get the help they need to be free of him.
- Ditzy Genius: Michael is the one with a formal education. He uses it so rarely that it's almost an Informed Attribute
- Does Not Like Magic: Michael is alright with Gifts and magica plants or animals, but genuine human magic freaks him out.
- Don't Call Me "Sir": Michael dislikes being addressed in a way that adds distance, or that emphasizes a difference in social status.
- The Dragon: Jack (and Wiederman) are this to Roseman.
- Driven to Suicide: Seymour Peebles, after being treated as an outcast in school and his one friend steals his alpha-numeric system idea.
- Drowning My Sorrows: How Fisk supposedly reacted to being dumped by his first love.
- Dude, Where's My Reward?: Both Rogue's Home and Player's Ruse end with the two getting nothing for their help. Technically, they do get a reward for stopping the wreckers, but Michael gives it away before Fisk finds out.
- Easy Amnesia: Inconveniently happens to the witness Jimmy in Rogue's Home.
- Embarrassing First Name: Nonopherian Fisk spends months traveling with Michael without ever divulging his first name. In addition to not liking his name, he thinks his namesake (a philosopher obsessed with perfection) is also embarrassing to be associated with.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Fisk's sisters call him Nonny, despite him having repeatedly told them he hates it. Michael, who similarly hates being called Mikey, uses this knowledge to blackmail Fisk into an agreement where neither of them use nicknames.
- Everything Magica Is Trying To Kill You: Very true if you (no matter how unintentionally) screw with a magica plant or animal.
- Evil Cripple: Hackle, who lost his leg in a wolf trap and had to replace it with a peg.
- Evil Mentor: Jack for Fisk. The guy is a real amoral Jerkass and that's putting it mildly.
- Faking the Dead: Rosamund, to get out of having to marry for political gain.
- Famed in Story: After taking down Roseman, Michael and Fisk become minor celebrities to everyone in law enforcement.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Michael's dad is no more on board with the knight errant idea than Fisk is in the first book, and goes to much further lengths than his son's squire to try and discourage the career.
- Fear Is the Appropriate Response: In Player's Ruse, when a band of men with swords start towards Michael, he mentions that Fisk has been trying to teach him that there are times to run, and that this seems like one of them.
- Fearless Fool: Michael, in the first book. The next two include mention of Fisk teaching him self preservation whenever he has the sense to run.
- Fiery Cover-Up: All the fires in Rogue's Home are to destroy financial records without drawing attention specifically to the building they're in.
- Force Feeding: Happens to poor Michael when Lady Ceciel gets a hold of him for her experiments. She uses a funnel to force him to swallow her potions.
- Foreign Money Is Proof of Guilt: This is what leads the heroes to suspect Worthington in Rogue's Home.
- Gambit Roulette: When Michael and Fisk are separated in Thief's War, they mostly have to trust that the other will know what to do from the vague messages they manage to send one another. Their ability to convey their plans and get important tools to the proper plays also relies in part on a group of children whose thought processes are clouded with lust for revenge, and Fisk has the added burden of needing to single out men under Roseman who follow out of fear instead of loyalty, and trusting them to do what he needs as well.
- Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: Currency is in gold, silver, and brass, with several different sizes of coin to cover a wider range of values.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: The scar on Michael's face is used to identify him (as a suspect) multiple times in Rogue's Home. The flog scars on his back are used to convince anyone who sees him that he's a horrible criminal.
- Hanging Judge: 'Loves the rope' Thrope.
- Healing Hands: Michael manages to make his magic cooperate with him while he's thinking clearly just in time to heal a fatal wound that Rupert receives.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Michael in books 2-4, mostly due to his being tattooed unredeemed after the events of book one, since those markings are usually only given to murderers whose families bribed their way out of execution.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Catching a glimpse of it in Fisk is what causes Michael to help have him spared in the first place.
- Honor Before Reason: Michael starts off deeply concerned about never doing wrong, even if it's for a good cause. To this end, he will be honest even when he knows it will get him in trouble, even if he's lying to villains.
- Hopeless Suitor: For all Michael's pinning for Rosamund, she only thinks of him like a brother and is instead head over heels for Rudy.
- I Am a Monster: Michael, after using magic.
- I Shall Taunt You: The main bad guy of Player's Ruse does this to a tied up and devastated Fisk after it looks like Michael has been tossed off a cliff to his death.
- Idiot Ball: As soon as Michael and Fisk arrive in Tallowsport, Fisk starts sending as many messages out as he can to let Jack know they're there. This despite him knowing that Jack wants to use him, doubts that they're a threat, and has assured them that his employer completely runs the town, which they are quick to learn he was right about. Predictably, this ends with the Arc Villain knowing exactly who he is dealing with and easily tracking down and capturing the two.
- Idiot Savant: Seymour Peebles. Incredibly good with numbers, and not that functional with anything else.
- Implacable Man: Nothing will stop Michael from pursuing the villain.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: After conning, Fisk's most marketable skill is needle work.
- Incriminating Indifference: Dayless acting as though Quicken's sabotage of her own research is no great trouble and arguing that he be let off light for it is what leads Michael and Fisk to suspect she's the one behind everything.
- Indy Ploy: When freeing Michael from Ceciel Fisk has a plan to get into her stronghold, but finding Michael and getting out are made up as they go.
- Ironic Echo: When Fisk suggests they drug Ceciel, but can't think of a way how, Michael jumps at the chance to threaten to force feed her using the exact same speech she gave him.
- It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The story begins with Fisk claiming that calling the weather such would be a gross understatement.
- Jack of All Trades:
- Michael, due to making a living by stopping to help work wherever a spare hand is needed.
- Fisk has shades of this as well when it comes to less... noble skills. He starts out as a burglar and eventually becomes a Con man out of preference, but we also see that he has skills in pickpocketing, forgery, cheating at cards, card sharping, knife fighting, even (according to Jack) rigging horse races.
- Just Ignore It: Fisk's solution for the wreckers.
- Just Think of the Potential!: Ceciel has grand plans to make the world a better place with human magic, while Michael is able to think of the obvious problems that could come with criminals getting such power as well.
- Kissing Cousins: Michael's crush on Rosamund.
- Kick the Dog: Michael suggests this as a reason someone may have burned down Thrope's house.
- Knife-Throwing Act: Falon's act in the player's troupe.
- Knight Errant: Michael broadcasts this as his occupation, although the profession has been out of style for two hundred years.
- Last-Name Basis: Fisk. Michael doesn't even learn his first name until the second book and even then it's only because of Fisk's sister.
- Lethal Chef: Supposedly the only thing Fisk can do right is evenly toast his bread.
- Leave No Witnesses: The wreckers kill anyone who sees them at work.
- Legally Dead: Rosamund is declared dead at the end of book three, and is even given a grave with another woman buried in her place.
- Life's Work Ruined: Fisk and Michael trash Ceciel's lab, burning all the notes she's taken over the years on magic and destroying all her experimental potions to be extra thorough.
- Lord Error-Prone: Michael starts off as this, acting so naive and trusting that he jumps at the chance to rescue a damsel in distress and ends up tricked into breaking a murder suspect out of jail.
- Love-Obstructing Parents: Baron Sevenson attempts to stop Rosamund from being with her sweetheart, forcing the girl to fake her death. Fisk anticipates that he and Kathy will meet similar resistance.
- Love Triangle: Between Michael, Rudy, and Rosamund.
- Mad Scientist: Lady Ceciel turns out to be one in The Last Knight.
- Magic Enhancement: Most objects the possess magic merely have enhanced properties as a result.
- Magic Is Mental: Inverted. According to academic theory, magic and intelligence are incapable of coexisting, explaining why it is only found naturally in animals and humans born with mental disabilities, as well as why Michael's magic triggers when he's in a state of panic, but not when he tries to will it to work. Elaborated upon in Scholar's Plot: the invocation has to be more natural as opposed to logical, proven when Michael ends up turning invisible as opposed to enabling himself to breathe underwater the first time he tests this theory. His magic responded to his need to hide, but not his logically thinking he needs to breathe underwater in order to hide.
- The Magic Touch: Michael can turn other things into magica.
- Make Sure He's Dead: Subverted. Though the wreckers are ordered to confirm they killed Michael, they can't be bothered to check, and just pretend they did so.
- Master Actor: Fisk. He is a con man, after all.
- Motive Rant: Peebles is happy to submit to arrest and tell everyone why Hotchkiss had to die.
- My God, What Have I Done?: When he can't trust anyone else not to be cowed into letting him go, Michael leaves Roseman at the mercy of a gang of teens and children that he orphaned. They violently murder him while Michael is gone, and Michael feels at fault for them bloodying their hands.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits: Fisk is very aware of this situation when he realizes he loves Kathy. Michael, for all Fisk's concerns, is more annoyed that no one told him before he catches to two kissing.
- Mystery Magnet: To Fisk's constant consternation they always seem to innocently run into some kind of deadly mystery that Michael insists they should help solve. Usually results in one or both of them being framed and/or getting thrown into jail.
- Naked People Trapped Outside: In Player's Ruse Michael sneaks out of camp in the middle of the night in only a shirt trying to figure out where someone is going, and ends up chased around and having to slowly make his way home. He doesn't get back until everyone is up.
- Nay-Theist: Everyone is a firm believer in the Creature and Moon Gods, but as these gods only look out for plants and animals and smite anyone who harms the things they grant magic to, humans are more interested in minimizing interaction with these deities than practicing any sort of worship.
- Never Heard That One Before: The reception Fisk's jokes start to get by the third book.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Trying to save a 'kidnapped' woman gets Michael arrested, taking the fall for another man gets him flogged, letting Fisk escape Ceceil's guards gets him experimented on, refusing to arrest an innocent woman gets him marked unredeemed, stopping a man from beating a young boy gets him arrested-again, helping to put out a fire gets him chased by a mob, helping arrest a murderer gets him kicked out of town, and trying to save a man who's falling gets him accused of murder. As Fisk says, heroism is vastly overrated.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis:
- When Worthington is lured out by Nettie's Ma he decides it would be a better use of his time to go catch the people he realizes have broken into his home than chase an old woman, much less listen to her gloating.
- Roseman takes this trope even further. He avoids all the common failing points of a villain and covers his trail so perfectly that even when the entire countryside knows he's crooked, it's hard to get any solid evidence against him.
- The Nondescript: Aside from Michael's scar, the two are perfectly average looking. One man who's tracking them gives up on asking if anyone's seen them and starts asking about their horses instead.
- Not the Fall That Kills You…: Michael survives being tossed off a tall cliff by unintentionally causing the air around him to thicken and slow his fall. (He does cancel his magic out before landing, but by that point he's close enough to the ground that he only ends up winded.)
- Noodle Incident: The duo apparently broke into a mayor's house at some point between the second and third book, though Michael thinks it doesn't count since they were just returning something someone else stole.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Mistress Peebles, who works at the university in memory of the son who killed himself while attending.
- Pet the Dog: Hilariously lampshaded by Fisk.Fisk: [His seeming charity] didn't impress me, as I've known several villains who were kind to animals and even more who loved their mothers.
- Obfuscating Disability: Subverted with Long Tom. He keeps braces on hand to make it look like his legs are bad and get pity, but he really does have bad hands.
- Once Per Book: Somehow, for some reason, Fisk will have to commit a burglary. And he hates burglaring.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
- When Michael takes a little too much glee in how they handle Ceciel after capturing her, Fisk is extremely concerned.
- Fisk is normally looking out primarily for himself, and it's almost a Once an Episode moment that the first thing Fisk would do when facing armed thugs is wait for an opportunity to flee. In Scholar's Plot, Michael recalls this very fact, only when a thug makes a swing at Kathy, Fisk doesn't run—he tackles the thug instead. Initially comes off as a bit of Character Development for Fisk, who at the start of the book is beside himself at doing something selfless of his own volition. Except later, via a separate event, Fisk realizes that he's fallen for Kathy and that suddenly he has a whole group of people to watch out for, not just his own neck.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Invoked by Fisk. He starts off with an intentionally fake noble's accent and slowly transitions into what he describes as 'pure guttering.'
- Perpetual Poverty: Michael's legal status, insistence on not setting down roots, and determination to go about things honestly combine to make it so that he and Fisk almost never manage to earn a significant amount of money. Every time they're offered a large reward, Michael also either immediately gives his portion (or the whole sum) away or else insists they do what's right rather than what they're being paid to do.
- Planet of Steves:
- Starting with Rogue's Home there are a dozen Potters. A newly introduced Potter usually includes the line "No relation to so-and-so Potter."
- Almost every noble the age of Michael's oldest brother, Rupert, is named Rupert in memory of the previous High Liege who passed around the time of those Ruperts' births. The current High Liege then went on to name his son and heir Rupert as well.
- Power Incontinence: Michael's powers activate on their own on occasion in the third book. Fisk points out that practice would be the easiest solution here but Michael refuses.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- If the sheriff hasn't already been bought by the local baron, they're likely one of these.
- After his exploits in Thief's War, most sheriffs even takes the time to look into the circumstances of Michael's status and are sympathetic to his situation.
- Relationship Upgrade: Fisk and Kathy get very close as penpals without realizing it, and spend much of Scholar's Plot sticking together and feeling one another out before hooking up.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Growing up in a wealthy family has left Michael with such a crippling inability to handle money wisely that even after at least two years of Perpetual Poverty he's still an easy target for anyone trying to get more than their service is worth.
- The Runaway: After he got fed up with arguing with his father over what to do with his life, Michael just slipped away one night with a small sum of money, took one of the horses that was least likely to be missed, and went off to play knight errant.
- Running Gag:
- What's the difference between X and a bandit?
- If Fisk, townsman that he is, uses a metaphor relating something to a countryside activity, it will likely include a misconception that Michael will silently let slide.
- Save the Villain: Fisk elects to free Jack Banister while everyone is focused on the negotiations at the end of Thief's War. Michael, who was gunning for him with the same, if not greater intensity than he was Roseman, is not pleased when he learns that Fisk used him as a diversion to this end.
- She Is All Grown Up: Fisk notes more than once in Scholar's Plot that Kathy is no longer fourteen.
- Smooch of Victory: Kathy's reward for Fisk after the fire in the old tower.
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Fisk, until Michael fights a boar for him.
- Stealth Insult: After claiming if they're clever enough one will never have to work hard, Fisk asks an unpleasant servant if she's a hard worker. She doesn't catch on until after insisting that she is.
- Sticky Fingers: As a former pickpocket and conman, Fisk has this problem. No matter where Michael stashes his purse on his person Fisk always ends up with it. In the end, Michael just gives up and lets Fisk handle the money since he's a better with it anyway.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Fisk in the first book, while he's still warming up to Michael.
- Switching P.O.V.: The perspective switches between Michael and Fisk's points of view each chapter.
- Sword Fight: After talking about being a knight and carrying a sword around for three books, Michael finally gets one in the climax of Player's Ruse.
- Sympathetic Murderer: No one is too upset with Peebles for killing Hotchkiss after getting her story. Fisk even goes out of his way to try and help her keep her job, and it's implied she'll be about as well off as she was before on top of ensuring that her son's genius gets recognized.
- Talk About the Weather: Farmers do. Noble's equivalent is horses; townsmen's, taxes.
- Talking in Your Dreams: What Wheatman believes happened to him. While he initially dismissed the dream he recounts to Michael as a regular nonsense dream, he places unusual meaning on it after learning his sister died while he dreamed of talking with her, and took it as a sign that she wanted him to take up vigilantism.
- Tattooed Crook: Played straight with Michael from the second book onward. People in the books are tattooed with chains on their wrists if they are permanently unable to repay their debts (usually because they killed someone but for some reason was spared from hanging). Michael didn't kill anyone, he just refused to fulfill a contract he was forced to make with his father that would have resulted in him losing his freedom for the rest of his life.
- Teacher/Student Romance: One of the professors at Pendarian has a bad habit of having affairs with his students. As the rumors agree that he doesn't give Sextra Credit, most look the other way.
- That Liar Lies: Michael is not amused when he learns Fisk was lying to him about being unable to fight.
- There Are Two Kinds of People in the World:
- Used by Fisk when he's trying to explain that Michael's father is a climber, though he amends himself and says that there are probably over thirty different types of noblemen alone.
- And used by Michael when describing how difficult it is for a unredeemed man to work odd jobs near the beginning of the second one.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Michael gets a chance to pull this on Dawkins.
- Time Skip: Roughly a year and a half passes between Rogue's Home and Player's Ruse.
- Too Dumb to Live: It's hard to believe Michael actually survived his first year of travel without Fisk, since he seems to think that constantly seeking out killers and knowingly walking into traps are very good ideas.
- Tough Love: A nicer way of looking at Baron Seven Oak's choice to have his youngest son marked permanently unredeemed, as he supposedly did this to try and 'do the right thing for Michael' and drastically limit his options so that he'd have to become the estate steward.
- Toxic Friend Influence:
- Fisk, though if Michael weren't so hellbent on doing no wrong, he'd be a much milder example.
- Jack Bannister was this to Fisk, deliberately instilling trust issues in him and then trying to shame him out of any moral development he achieves during his time with Michael.
- Trauma Conga Line: The first two books are this for Michael.
- Trojan Prisoner: Fisk gets himself arrested by Ceciel as a means of getting inside her keep so he can find and rescue Michael.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Fisk and Michael alternate between narrating each chapter, leading to this whenever the two separate.
- Unnamed Parent: Nettie's Ma. When Michael asks her for her name she takes offense.
- Unstoppable Mailman: The man who delivers a letter to Fisk at the beginning of Rogue's Home has been carrying it for months, and had to figure out a trick to track him and Michael down.
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: Where Rosamund keeps the key to her jewelry box.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Everyone praises Worthington for his generosity, including people whose family members he killed in cold blood.
- Waking Up Elsewhere: Michael and Fisk in the first book, when they get knocked out in the streets and come to on a boat.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Michael used to be one of these but he finally decided there was nothing he could do to gain his father's respect so he just decided to do what he wanted. His father is still a bit of a sore spot for him though especially since he was one of the main reasons Michael ends up marked unredeemed.
- What Have I Become?: Michael. He became the only intelligent magic user.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Considering he could already feel magic, being able to see it is only a slight step up. Even when Michael starts to seriously work magic, the number of situations where it could come in handy are slim. It isn't until the third book that his magic really starts to look impressive. By book four he's begins to test the waters by using it to enhance his animal handling Gift in order to affect a human, but it's in book five—when he actually gets a plausible theory on how to control his magic—that it actually becomes useful in two separate occasions in the book: 1) by hiding him from an angry con who got busted by Fisk; 2) by creating a bubble of air to protect himself and Fisk from the fire destroying the old tower. The second time is when Michael actually makes the magic do what he wants, as it only really responds to the will of his heart (or primal instinct).
- Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: The sheriff in *Player's Ruse* is skeptical of Michael's claim for how he was framed for a murder because the trap he walked into was so blatant. Fisk has to assure him that Michael has a history of knowingly walking into traps.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: Michael. Which makes it all the more convincing the few times he does, such as telling Lady Ceciel her potions didn't work on him.
- Willfully Weak: Early in the series Michael refuses to use his magic unless he has to.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Miss Ceciel. At least, not intentionally.