CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 37. . . .May 24, 2013
The Beggar King, a young adult fantasy novel, tells the story of Jordan Elliott, the main character and a youth living in the city of Cir, a pleasant place of peace and white magic. On his fifteen birthday, Jordan finds his world beginning to change. A neighbouring country, Brinn, brings about a coup that overthrows their existing way of life. Several important people disappear, including his mother, a baker in the palace kitchen. Jordan is supposed to choose an occupation when he reaches sixteen, but as things grow more dangerous, Jordan decides to make a display of defiance against the oppressors. Jordan’s offense is punishable by hanging, and he flees. One of Jordan’s unusual acquaintances is Sarmillion, an older, sometimes amusing scribe, and a character who faces personal conflicts in doing what is right in their situation.
The Cirrans have a legend of a Beggar King, something like a mythical bogeyman, who searches for the dark magic that has been safely locked away for centuries. The story says that, if the Beggar King succeeds in his search, he will unleash this destructive curse upon their world. Jordan’s girlfriend, Ophira, apprenticed to the Seven Seers of Cir, now works within the occupied palace as a seer for the new emperor.
To escape hanging, and take action against the Brinnians, Jordan accepts a gift from the Beggar King that allows him to disappear at will. Of course, such an unpredictable and addictive gift comes with strings, and in his effort to free his people, Jordan places everyone, including Ophira and his mother, in the grave danger of the return of the Beggar King.
Well written, The Beggar King holds the reader’s interest. With some odd and amusing characters, the author takes care to build a well-drawn world and a culture that is quite different from ours. At 269 pages, including a page of acknowledgments, plus a page with a brief author bio, the tale is divided into 30 chapters. With magic, political intrigue, good and bad choices, and well-drawn characters, The Beggar King would appeal to lovers of fantasy and adventure.
Ronald Hore, a member of several writing groups, writes medieval-style fantasy and fantasy detective stories in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.