The Orphan King

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
With all the attention focused on the three figures slowly climbing the gallows, no one in the crowd noticed a figure approaching from the town behind. It wasn’t until the figure strode amid the usual cursing and jeering that anyone noticed him. Then, the awed silence was immediate. As it should have been. No man in the crowd stood higher than five feet and nine inches. This man was a giant, four hands taller than the tallest. His attire cast a frightened chill among them. The black cloak that swirled around him gleamed with richness and flowed like a heavy river. A hood covered his face; his hands were lost deep in the folds of the robe. He projected nothing less than the shadow of death.

Book: The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer, Waterbrook Press, 2012

Genre: Historical Fiction/Adventure
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 11-18
Subjects: Faith in God, trust in others, determining who to trust, truth
Summary: “Delivered on the wings of an angel, he shall set us free from oppression” is a chant the people of Magnus repeat each night before bed. Miles and miles away their deliverer is being raised by corrupt monks behind the walls of a monastery. But Thomas hasn’t always been an orphan. His nurse and teacher cared for him for many years. Not only cared for him, but trained him. In a secret cave were hidden books of knowledge. In a time when only the wealthy or the priests can read, Thomas has been taught to read and write in multiple languages. And he has been taught the secrets of Magnus and the key to conquering it. With the help of Sir William, Tiny John and Isabelle, the knight, pickpocket, and mute girl he rescued from the gallows he sets off towards to conquer and unconquerable kingdom.
Notes: Set in England in the dark ages, this series tells of the power those with knowledge have over those with none. It tells of the Druids and Merlins, one with a quest to keep people in darkness, one with a quest to bring the light of knowledge into the world, especially knowledge of God. This series tells of a young boy who was raised by a Merlin who died before revealing all to him. Now he’s alone in the world with no idea who to trust. Both sides want him to join them and neither side knows if they can trust him or not. Both sides are determined to end his life if he chooses to follow the enemy. This is a re-making of the original Winds of Light series. The first 6 books were also compiled into a volume called Magnus, then again into a volume called Wings of Dawn. Unlike the older re-makings, this one changes a lot. The basic story line is the same but the characterization is different. Thomas is made to seem a lot more foolish and immature in this version than in the past. The author adds in extra scenes and explains things more so that the reader is not left in mystery as in the original. My personal opinion is that the original is more well-written and more entertaining. It’s hard to have the main character seem more foolish after reading the originals where he was so well trained that he amazed Sir William. But that’s only my personal opinion. I do overall highly recommend this series. The spiritual focus doesn’t play out as much in the first book, it just starts it. Thomas is not a Christian but he begins his journey, seeking God and seeking truth in this book. His story plays out across all 6 books. (The last 2 books in the series take place a generation or two later and are about different characters.)
Spiritual Recommendation Scale: 3/5
Entertainment Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Proverbs 2:12-15 – Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight path to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,  whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Thank you!


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