Title: Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione
Author: Chuck Black
Series: Knights of Arrethtrae, book 1
Major Themes: Fantasy, Biblical Allegories
Synopsis: An evil warrior and his band of fierce men are steadily destroying the lives of the young people of the kingdom. Can Sir Kendrick, along with impetuous Sir Duncan, counter the evil and rescue the endangered youth?
Years ago, soon after moving to New Zealand, some friends of ours introduced me to the Kingdom series, and once I had read those, to the Knights of Arrethtrae series. Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione is the first book in the latter, and starts the series off with a bang! It’s been a year or two since I last read it, and I had forgotten how engrossing this story is, so I was pleasantly surprised when it came up on the list for the next one in the line. My brothers were not disappointed either, and they were eager to do my dishes for me so I could read the next installment. From start to finish, it took about a week to complete—a record for these books!
Sir Kendrick begins with a sword fight, as all good medieval fantasy books do. Then it swiftly launches into the story of Sir Kendrick who is not very happy with the choice of the council at Chessington to give him Sir Duncan to teach, train, and mentor. However, he has little choice in the matter, and when the council reveals a secret medallion they believe is attached to affiliates of the Dark Knight, Kendrick and Duncan must somehow work together to find out all they can about the plot. Their quest soon encounters danger as Duncan’s impulsiveness gets him heavily involved in finding out who a secretive evil knight is—endangering both his life and their quest. Is there any hope that Duncan can tame his recklessness enough to allow sense to override in dangerous situations? Will he and Kendrick be able to find out who these secretive knights with medallions are—before these evil warriors’ plot to wreck havoc to the entire kingdom comes to fruition?
Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione is quite an exciting story! As far as an allegory, it was excellent as well—portraying how rebellion is detrimental to our lives in many different areas. There is an interesting discussion in chapter 15 about three ways people typically respond to rebellion. First, they get caught up in pleasure for a while, but eventually leave most of it and lead “normal” lives. Second, they get so involved in it that they think of nothing else, and eventually pleasure and the pursuit of sin becomes their only drive in life. After a while, they become a veritable prisoner of the devil and are so vulnerable to the power of sin that they cannot leave by their own strength. Or third, they become hardened from the rebellion, and no sin is too bad for them. They then become leaders of more sin, and the rebellion continues.
In all, this is a great story. Best for teens. There’s a lot of depth to the book, and I’ve found the discussion questions in the back especially helpful to get more out of the story.
WARNING: This has a good amount of fighting in it, and as such you may wish to be careful around younger readers. A man is killed in chapter three (page 26); a man is more graphically threatened with death in chapter eight (especially pages 62–63); chapter 13 tells about some terrible wolves (NOT for younger readers); a man is brutally tortured and two others are killed in chapter 14 (especially pages 111–112); there is a battle in chapter 18 and several people die. Overall, this is a good book—but definitely for slightly older readers (when reading aloud, I sent my younger brothers out of the room in places).
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above
Links to buy this book:
Amazon: Paperback | Kindle | Audible Audiobook (unabridged) | Audio CD (unabridged)
AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com
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