Title: Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest
Author: Chuck Black
Series: Knights of Arrethtrae series, book 6
Major Themes: Allegories, Fantasy
Synopsis: When Sir Rowan’s fame will not save him from being kidnapped or deliver him a ransom, can he learn to trust the Prince for help?
Having read all the other books in the Knights of Arrethtrae series, I was trying to decide whether to read Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest or not when I read a review saying that it wasn’t as good as the other books in the series. After that, I decided I would wait a while—maybe get it later when I had more money, just so I could have a complete set. However, just recently, I got access to the audiobook for free, so I decided to check it out—and it proved to be in some ways better than I hoped, and in other ways not as good.
Sir Rowan had a bit of a tough start. As a youngster, his parents died, and soon he was out on the street, fending for himself as well as he could. He had always had a fascination for swords and sword fighters, so when a passing knight one day took notice of him, Rowan was delighted. As time went on, the knight eventually began teaching Rowan the Code, how to be a good swordsman, and what it meant to follow the Prince. However, as soon as he felt he knew enough, Rowan began entering tournaments and slowly, as his fame spread, he decided to revel in the adulations of the crowd rather than remember and apply all he had been taught about the Prince and His ways. The kingdom soon began changing, though, as an evil ruler attempted to take over—and when Rowan was attacked and taken prisoner by bandits, would anyone be willing to pay his ransom, or would he be left to slowly starve to death?
Although I did enjoy Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest, some parts of the story felt superfluous, and not really necessary to the overall plot. I did appreciate several points made about fame versus the necessity of obeying and glorifying God with what we do. As always, the Arrethtraean atmosphere made an interesting backdrop to the story, and seeing people working through their different struggles was encouraging. One thing I didn’t appreciate as much was the amount of killing; at one point, several characters killed or wounded twenty men all at once, and there were other times where they killed quite a few other people as well (always the bad guys, of course, but I still struggle with any killing when you think of the value of human life, even in books).
In all, while I did enjoy this finale to the Knights of Arrethtrae series, I didn’t enjoy it as much as some of the other books. Still, I think early teenagers will find this and all the other books in the series fascinating, and perhaps like me will come away with a fresh thankfulness for all Christ has done for us, and a desire to live for Him.
WARNING: See the end of the third paragraph. Compared to the other books in this series, the violence level was about the same—personally, I would call it just shy of intense. Near the beginning of this story, the main character was imprisoned for quite a while in a dark cave (and when he did try to escape one time he was almost eaten alive by caterpillars). Then later on, there was a lot of fighting as mentioned above.
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above