Posts tagged ‘medieval’

A STUDY IN CONTRASTS

Thiel: One Foot in Front of the Other

Written by Lynne Pearl

Thiel,pic

This author has a gift for selecting the right words at the right time. Thiel Clay is a young man who has a crooked face and a cripple’s body, but in the words of the author, “Nature had given Thiel an ugly outer shell and a fine inner core.” He lived with his poor family and spent his days working on Squire Turo’s farm. He dearly loves his grandmother, Narn. One day his life dramatically changes when she passes away and she leaves him a box with a letter and a key inside.

Thiel cannot read or write; he takes the letter to a neighbor, Mr. Bunmet. The young man is astonished to learn that his grandmother left forty pieces of the realm in trust at the home of Justice Thwaite in the city of Goneton. Thiel is afraid; he has never been far from his village. Now to ponder a trip on foot to the city is an unthinkable task, but his kindly neighbor encourages him to be man and claim his fortune.

Thiel does not tell his parents, Sara and Ed, because he instinctively knows that they will claim that he is a simpleton and take it away from him. So Thiel carefully constructs a plan for his journey with his faithful dog, Heap. When they reach the house of Farmer Weeks, they are welcomed with food and warmth. More importantly he supplies Thiel with a warm coat and a map indicating a traveling plan for the journey. He volunteered to take care of Heap, while he was gone.

Thiel soon became homesick and scared as he reached the city outskirts and the terrifying crowds of noisy people. After much travail, Thiel finds the home of the Justice where he gets another surprise, he has also inherited the key to an estate far away in Minark. So begins another difficult journey….

Pearl uses personification effectively to describe nature and the medieval-like surroundings of Thiel and his time. The characters are well developed. Thiel is a character you want to embrace and hug. The contrast between city and country and modern versus traditional is played out well. Looking forward to reading more of this series. Suitable for children in middle grades and young adults. Mature readers will find it quite entertaining as well.

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PRINCESS IN PERIL

The Escape of Princess Madeline

Written by Kirstin Pulioff

EscapeofPrincessMadelinepic

This book has been classified as a young adult novella. The protagonist is Princess Madeline and the setting is the medieval kingdom of Soron. Madeline’s mother,  Queen Eleanor, is introduced in the Prologue by the wizard Elias and again alluded to in the Epilogue. The subtlety of these allusions will become evident to the reader at the conclusion of the tale.

At the beginning of the story, we meet Princess Madeline and her twin brother Braden. They will soon be celebrating their sixteenth birthdays. Madeline’s best friend in Sophia who is a commoner. Alas! She cannot really understand the life of a princess. Sophia is in love with Braden and it seems that her dreams of happiness with him are doomed. King Theodore has attempted to raise his children to be proper heirs of the kingdom, but Madeline is a determined, headstrong and passionate princess who has begun to question her father’s authority. He presents Madeline with a beautiful green gown that was once worn my the mother she never knew. The trouble begins when Madeline learns that the ball to celebrate her birthday is really an opportunity for all the royal suitors to compete for her hand. Enraged by this prospect, Madeline wears another gown in defiance and then feigns illness to escape the ball. This behavior infuriates her father and embarrasses the family.

When Madeline is awakened by Sophia the next morning, she learns that there is to be a jousting tournament to determine which of the knights will become her Knight Protector. Her father forces her to attend. She spies a young knight named Daniel who evokes “butterflies in her stomach” and other unexplained emotions in her head. Madeline disappears from her viewing point before the end of the contest. She is determined to escape what she feels is a life in prison.

When her disappearance is discovered, all the knights in the kingdom go to search for her. Daniel, especially is determined to win her back. Madeline is clever; she switches her gown with the clothes of a peasant girl that she meets in the forest. She bribes her with a bag of gold coins. But Daniel discovers that the family is hiding the royal dress and finds out that Madeline is still alive. Madeline is alive but she has been captured by bandits in the forest. This young pampered princess has never had to use survival skills, but she is clever and strong. She manages to escape not once but twice. Things are looking gloomy for her; Madeline has learned a few lessons about family, love, and responsibility along her journey. The wizard Elias and his green robed elves make an appearance. Here is where the author successfully merges the fantasy environment with the strong characters and modern day coming of age plot.  What will happen to Madeline? Does Daniel win the princess?  Will the king and his daughter mend their relationship?

This book contains in depth character studies and a story line that moves along well with a few twists and turns. Mature middle grade readers might enjoy the fantasy elements though the plot is more suitable for young adult readers. In fact, I did feel like I was reading a story more intended for an adult audience so my suggested audience would be twelve plus. Looking forward to hearing more about Princess Madeline and her life’s journey.

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WORRIED WARRIOR

From Man to Man (Wroge Elements)

by D.E. M Emrys

 

From Man to Man

This book is a fast paced fantasy short story that is a prequel to the novel From Ashes to Man. At the beginning of the story, we meet Draven Rheinhart leaving his wife and son at home early one morning. Draven is torn by indecision. He looks at the closed wooden chest at the foot of the bed and desperately wants to open it, but he has made a promise to his wife and son not to go back to his old life. Draven tried being a server and a farm worker in the medieval village of Hidann, but he was unsuccessful at both. When he snatches the axe and closes the door, we realize that he had been a mercenary. A frustrated Draven is chopping trees when a stranger approaches him; this stranger appears to know about his past. He offers Draven a job. He is the village blacksmith named McGowan. Draven refuses the offer until a Huntsman convinces him to use his axe as a tool not a weapon. Draven returns to the blacksmith to accept the job which is to protect the tax collector from outlaws, while he collects taxes from the village. Suddenly there are footsteps in the forest and arrows flying through the air. Lurking in the woods are fourteen bandits led by a character named Pig Nose! Will Draven be able to fulfill his promise to safeguard Nicolas, the tax collector?  What will become of Draven? Can he keep his promises to his family or will he return to his old life? This tale really does not provide an answer. The end of the story is a preview of the novel to follow.

 

Emrys, who is himself a former soldier, writes a fast paced story. He uses colorful language and draws vivid images. “Strutting a loping gait, head bobbing, back bent under the weight of the ledger in one arm and the coin pouch swinging from the other, Nicolas seemed to turn more heads for his manner rather than woes of  his business.” Using few details and telling the story in first person, Emrys quickly lays out the plot and presents his characters. I read the tale  along with the rhythm the author sets and could not wait to find out more. Young adults and adults will want to read the novel and future books from this talented new author.

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