Multnomah Books just recently released the final two books in the six books Knights of Arrethtrae series by Chuck Black. They sent me a copy of Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor (Book 5) and Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest (Book 6) for review.
Only (my bad) - I didn't really clue in that I was coming in on the end of a series and I have mental issues with that. I talked to the publicist though and read the introduction and I feel pretty secure in saying that each book can be read entirely as a stand-alone. The introduction really does an adequate job of explaining the point and purpose of each story and sets the stage of the series for the reader. I didn't end up feeling as lost as I thought I might (but I'm still mentally bothered by the fact that I haven't read book one because, to me, that's just wrong.)
I was drawn to these stories initially as having been written by a home schooling father (of six) who wanted to challenge kids to "live for more" than what society currently sets their expectations for. I normally don't quote from the press release but in this case, I think I'll make an exception because it explains the author's intent:
"Many kids today are being let off the hook," says Black. "They're abandoning activities that encourage creativity and self-development for forms of escapism like additions to video games or social media." He believes stories of everyday heroes who find courage in the face of fear will help youth rise above the low expectations set for them in today's world and realize God has a quest for them as well."
Black is also a former F-16 fighter pilot and, I confess it, I figured if his books were picked up by Multnomah, they wouldn't be "that bad." (I've picked up a few books written by home schooling dads that self published and I was less than impressed. Yes, I admit the bias towards self-publicized works!) I wasn't far off the mark in suspecting that this would be an interesting series. Black manages to hold his "tone" for the book pretty well. The introduction, as I said, sets the stage for a battle between good and evil.
"Like raindrops on a still summer's eve, the words of a story can oft fall grayly upon the ears of a disinterested soul. I am Cedric of Chessington, humble servant of the Prince, and should my inadequate telling of the tales of these brave knights e'er sound as such, know that it is I who have failed and not the gallant hearts of those of whom I write . . ." (from the Introduction)I read book five and had several impressions:
1. I was entertained;
2. I was intrigued;
3. I kinda felt like I was attending a Medieval Times dinner theater;
4. I liked the way Black handled the battle between good and evil.
Conservative parents will be happy to note that Chuck Black avoids the use of magic in these books. So if you aren't sure what to make of Harry Potter or even my beloved Chronicles of Narnia, you can breathe easy with the Knights of Arrethrae series. Each one also hits on a particular character quality such as courage - or it battles against undesirable traits such as greed or apathy.
To win? Simply leave a comment below. This contest will be open through Thursday, October 21st. US Residents only.
Thank you, Multnomah Books, for your generosity in sending me these books to read for myself, as well as for offering a copy to one of my readers.
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER (selected by Random.org, of course!) is #5 - Serena! Congratulations!