Fly by Night is a children's fantasy novel by Frances Hardinge, published on October 7, 2005 by Macmillan Publishers in the UK and on April 25, 2006 by HarperCollins in the US, and aimed at teens.[citation needed] Fly by Night won the Branford Boase Award in 2006,[1] and was listed in the School Library Journal's Best Books of 2006.[2]


Script error

In an alternative version of 18th-century England, Mandelion is ruled in name by a mad Duke, in reality by a group of competing Guilds, and in aspiration by a variety of royal pretenders. Since the Realm was shattered, the king deposed, and the parliamentarians and monarchists locked in struggle, with the Guilds in between, there has never been real peace, and open warfare is just a wrong move away.

Into this tinderbox comes Mosca Mye, an orphan of Quilliam Mye, has taken up with a smooth-talking con man, Eponymous Clent, both because she loves words, and because she 'accidentally' set her stingy uncle's mill on fire. Together they get involved in the power intrigues of the city. But Mosca, though very bright and literate (a rarity in this world), understands a lot less than she thinks she does.

An Orphan's Tale Twelve year-old Mosca Mye was born on a day honoring a saint called Goodman Palpitattle, the patron god of keeping flies out of the jam and butter. Therefore, Mosca was named after a type of fly. Not the best start for a little girl, especially since her mother had also died during childbirth. So, from the very beginning Mosca had her work cut out for her.

Words that are not printed by the Stationer guild are illegal. Mosca Mye's father was a writer and lover of literature - and because of this, he was killed when Mosca was just a little girl. She was taken in by her uncle, but her ability to read caused many problems for her. She was locked up each evening in her uncle's mill and forced to take care of his accounting. One night however, Mosca plans an escape that includes breaking out a known con man, named Eponymous Clent, and heading out on the lam with him!

Fantastical Feats

Once Mosca busts her sidekick out of confinement, the pair (along with a deranged goose named Saracen) heads off on a journey cloaked in danger. Mosca and Eponymous travel throughout the Fractured Kingdom, which has been plagued with religious and political upheaval, and meet some unlikely allies. There is a big struggle in the Kingdom over who should rule the land - and Mosca ends up playing a big role in sorting things out.


  1. "Branford Boase Award 2006". The Branford Boase Award. 2006. Archived from the original on 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  2. Jones, Trevelyn; et al. (2006-12-01). "Best Books 2006". School Library Journal. Retrieved 2008-05-18.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)

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