cover image Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

Katherine Marsh. Hyperion, $16.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4231-3500-5

In the final years of the 16th century, a 15-year-old dwarf named Jepp struggles to understand himself and his place in the world; he’s caught between the pull of the past, the promise of the future, and the forces of fate and free will. The first of the book’s three sections finds a battered and beaten Jepp being transported ignobly in a cage to an unknown destination; along the way, he recalls the events that led him there, from his humble upbringing in an inn to becoming a court dwarf in Brussels (a role in which humiliation, opportunity, and danger are closely entwined). Jepp’s fortunes continue to wax and wane in the later sections, as he arrives at the island castle of astronomer Tycho Brahe. As in Marsh’s The Night Tourist and The Twilight Prisoner, real history is effortlessly woven into her fiction: while Jepp has his roots in an actual dwarf who served Brahe, Marsh transforms his “footnote” of a story into an epic search for love, family, respect, and a destiny of one’s own making. Ages 12–up. Agent: Alex Glass, Trident Media Group. (Oct.)