Monday, April 07, 2008
The King's Arrow
Cadnum, Michael. 2008. The King's Arrow.
The stallion was afraid of shadows.
It's not often that you find children's historical fiction books set in the time shortly after William the Conqueror. Or maybe everyone else does, but I sure don't come across it that often. This is a time period that brings to mind Edward Rutherfurd for me. I've read London. I've read Sarum. I've read The Forest. This 'conquering' of England by the Normans was a BIG deal.
The novel focuses on the assassination of King William II by Walter Tirel. If you're going..."Hmm, never heard of him." Then you're with me. I hadn't heard of him (the him being Walter Tirel) either. So don't feel too badly. If you HAVE heard of Walter Tirel, then you can gloat.) The novel is narrated by a fictional character, Simon. A young man that is half-English and half-Norman. As destiny would have it, he through mere chance, is an eye-witness to a historical event. Invited to join the royal hunting party, Simon is both stunned and excited. An invitation is not just rare--it's practically unheard of. For an unknown--even from somewhat well respected heritage--to mix with the royals and the higher-ups. Simon knows it is either the start of something big, or the end of everything he knows. (Think the Queen from Alice going "Off with their heads.") He could potentially benefit his family and his social standing, or he could be walking into a big trap. He could be endangering his own life and the lives of his family.
Walter Tirel has taken a liking to Simon. Though hesitant at their first meeting, the invitation is soon genuine. But Walter himself is not well-liked in all the political/social circles. He is the rival of Roland, who is a Marshal, and the king's right-hand man. But Walter is very high-up in the hierarchy.
The book is full of adventure and history and political drama. The book examines the events as a true mystery. No one knows exactly what happened. But this is one man's envisioning of that event.
If you love mysteries, adventure, or history. This one may be for you.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews