I read this book when I was 15 that I cant seem to find, no matter how many times I search for it. I'm hoping that someone may have read it, and recognize the details. Its really driving me crazy and I would be eternally grateful if anyone recognizes it.

The book centers around a princess (with "gilded skin") trying to save her kingdom from destruction. It starts off with a gypsy (?) coming into the kingdom with her slave boy. She had cut out his tongue to prevent him from warning the kingdom of her power. Soon, her friend or followers, her kind began to flock to the kingdom, selling idols that corrupt the citizens with greed and suspicion. The kingdom falls into civil war. When it's too weak to fight back, its neighboring kingdom invades, leading to the princess's inevitable destruction.

The princess escapes by using a tunnel that had been hidden in a well. She goes to a old hermit or wizard that was a friend of her fathers. He tells her of Magic Stones that, in the hands of their chosen champion, can have amazing powers. She recalls that the gypsy has a pearl-like stone on her ring, and believes that it poisons people's will, entrances them - and it is because of this gypsy her kingdom has fallen. The old hermit tells her that if she finds the man who can change time, changing the past, she can stop the gypsy from ever entering the kingdom.

She is sent to to top of the world (?) to seek the cave where these stone are kept. At some point the slave boy joins her, but the reasons for this are unknown, she believes he is there to spy on her but takes pity on him and allows him to continue with her. It's guarded (sort of) by a dragon/lizard. The dragon is made of stone, and seems to be able to metamorphosize from any stone matter and although not vicious, tells the princess that she must find it before the sunsets or she will be stuck in the cave forever. The stone originally given her by the dragon guardian turns out to be stone that controls time.

The stone cannot take her into the future but allows her to affect the past. She becomes desperate at some point (I don't remember why) and tries at first to step back to the point where the gypsy is let into the kingdom. After this attempt fails, she follows the boy's life back to the point where he is ambushed by the gypsy and forced into slavery to save his dog - referred to as a "dancing hound". By doing this, the princess is able to corner the gypsy, and freeze her in time. The princess kills the gypsy by crushing her under an oak that she aged.

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    When were you 15? 5 years ago? 10 years ago? 30 years ago? The approximate year you read the book will be helpful. – Bobo Oct 7 '14 at 15:39
  • Im 25 now. About 10 years ago. Also something to help: I remember the cover was a painted image of two figures walking along a mountain range, that headed into the clouds, looking out on a valley. Its difficult. No matter how many searches I do, I cant find this book – kitten Oct 7 '14 at 17:39
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    I think these to requests are looking for the same book: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/90554/… – user52742 Sep 8 '15 at 15:31

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