Ugly is a great many things. Warty, buck-toothed, crooked-lipped, long-nosed. Plump, squinty, thin-haired, or squat...So what was Jode? Not beautiful. Not plain; no, plain would have been a mercy, a boon. A mere pity is plain for one as young and poor as he....
Homely, awkward farmboy Jode Lintwich has always longed for adventure and greatness: two things which can't be had in his humble village and which don't happen often to anyone like himself. But desperation can change anyone's destiny–and Jode is desperate enough to try.
A visit to a local witch, a few coins, and an inadvertant promise transforms Jode into something beyond his wildest imaginings; and also causes him to be cast out of his own village for good. A wanderer turned loose in the world, Jode must learn the truth about the magic upon him and embrace a destiny greater than any ever before conceived by his mind. If he wants to survive, he must find the one key to his ultimate happiness and escape the danger inflicted upon him by the two-sided coin of the witch's magic.
From a pirate ship to the sands of the desert, from a mercenary knight to a monarch's deceptive pawn, the adventures of Jode-turned-Handsome-Jack are as a varied as his namesake's tales ... and as far from his true fate as he could possibly imagine.
Book One of Briggs and Steinbrenner's retelling of CINDERELLA spins a tale of multiple threads as varied as their characters' fates: an awkward boy spun into a hero by magic, an unhappy orphan girl languishing in a house filled with secrets, a homely witch of unexpected powers and a coldblooded noblewoman of mysterious past. A tale of magic makers and fortune tellers, of con artists and criminals, bandits and sultans, artists and peasants, servants and monarchs, all bound by the common thread of one boy's existence.