Arthurian Adventure with Author Cheryl Carpinello
Melinda T. Falgoust
"In medieval Wales, eleven-year-old Prince Gavin, thirteen-year-old orphan Philip, and fifteen-year-old blacksmith’s apprentice Bryan are brought together in friendship by one they call the Wild Man. When an advisor to the king is killed and a jewelled medallion is stolen from the king’s treasury, the Wild Man is accused of the theft and murder. Filled with disbelief at the arrest of the Wild Man, the three friends embark upon a knight’s quest to save their friend’s life. To succeed, the three must confront their fears and insecurities, and one of them will have to disclose the biggest secret of all. Join Gavin, Philip, and Bryan on their quest and share the adventures that await them in the land of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table."
Three friends. Three quests. Three mysterious predictions.
In putting them all together, middle-grade author Cheryl Carpinello has cleverly crafted Young Knights of the Round Table: The King's Ransom (Muse It Up Publishing, 2012) a fast-paced, medieval adventure novel laced with mystery and a dashing daub of derring-do.
Young Gavin is a prince - but, while royalty may be his birthright, he is not without the common burden of all men. The Prince of Pembroke worries that he may fail in conquering the worst enemy of all - fear. Gavin is in training to become a squire and future knight, and doubts whether he has the courage to reamin steadfast in battle. Fortunately for him, he is not alone with his fear. His comrades, Bryan, the blacksmith's apprentice, and Philip, the mysterious boy who lives at the church, each face their own personal demons while each strives for something more. The three boys bond together in friendship over their dreams and their mettle as men will be tested when an acquaintance is wrongly accused of a heinous crime and the boys swear an oath to right the wrong.
Knights is a bildungsroman with an Arthurian twist. Afficionados of the King Arthur legend will take a shine towards the bits and pieces of the fabled monarch's story that Ms. Carpinello has woven into a well-crafted historical fiction. As with most coming-of-age novels, each of the stories main characters begins the story with something to be learned. Middle-grade readers will certainly enjoy embarking on the individual quests with Gavin, Bryan and Philip as they face witches, evil kings, and even murderers. The bonus feature of the story is that readers can learn a bit about medieval history along the way as well. The well-researched tale would feature well as a companion piece in a social studies unit on the medieval period.
As readers follow young Gavin on his quest to find a more likely suspect in the murder of a member of the castle court, they learn that "courage is not the absence of fear, but, rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." (Thanks, August Redmoon, for the quote). Philip, too, braves the notion that he is a failure and presses forward to save another - even in the face of death at the hands of darkness. Finally, Bryan realizes that sometimes it is not just for our dreams that we must push forward, but for the hope of others.
The story is filled with daring adventures, narrow escapes, and... my most favorite part of all...two clever plot twists that turn the reader's perceptions upside-down and challenge the notion of judging a book by its cover. All in all, a gallantly great read. Two lances way up!
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