Title: The Lost Prince
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Major Themes: Spies
Synopsis: Two young boys set off on a quest to save the kingdom of Samavia from her enemies.
This is one of those reviews I’m not sure how to write. At least the author is no longer alive, so her feelings won’t be hurt. I really liked the story line of The Lost Prince, but there were things I did not like about this book.
Marco and his father are currently living in London, but they have moved all over Europe from one capital city to another, all Marco’s life. He was now 12 years old, and was as dedicated to the cause of the people of Samavia as his father was. Although neither of them had ever been to Samavia, they both knew the country thoroughly and had memorized all the streets of the cities, as well as the lay of the land of that small country. Samavia had major problems; some 500 years ago, her Crown Prince had disappeared, mysteriously and totally, and ever since, two rival parties, neither of whom had a legitimate claim to the throne, had fought over the country. Now, it appeared that matters were coming to a head—would the rightful prince ever reappear? Was it even possible that, after 500 years, his descendants were still in existence?
In his wanderings through the city, Marco one day happened upon a group of boys reading a newspaper article about the problems in Samavia. Their leader, a hunchback, had formed the boys into a group of well-disciplined soldiers, dedicated to the cause of Samavia in their play. Was there any chance that Marco and The Rat could help Samavia for real?
Although there are just enough hints dropped early on in the story that you are pretty sure how it will turn out, the author has done a good job of building suspense to keep you reading. I quite enjoyed this mystery based on an imaginary kingdom somewhere in Europe. However, I did not like what I found a couple of times in the story. I can’t find one of the incidents, but the other is in chapter 15. Marco found himself locked in a cellar with no way out, and asked the “Thought which Knows All” for help, then after sleeping, spoke to “Something” in the darkness, asking for help again. If he was praying to God, the author should have said so. If to some other power, I don’t want my children reading this book. For that reason, I won’t be keeping the book. I had the same problem with another of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s books, The Secret Garden.
WARNING: See last paragraph of review.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12