Friday, December 31, 2010

Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione

Chuck Black's book Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione captures the flavor of medieval knights, jousting, sword-fighting, and storming castles but presents a modern, though subtle, message about the hazards of rebelling against God.

Sir Kendrick, a Knight of the Prince, and Duncan, the young man he is mentoring, are asked to discover the identity of an evil Vincero Knight, in order to protect the kingdom from the Lucius, the Dark Knight. On their journey, they realize shadow warriors are enticing young people to rebel against their parents, and spend their weekends reveling at the Castle of Bel Lione. Eventually, the young people disappear, either to be enslaved, killed in brutal games, or become Vincero knights themselves.

When Duncan is imprisoned in the Castle of Bel Lione, Kendrick must rescue him. Help comes from the most unlikely source, and a fierce battle ensues. Finally, the prisoners are freed, but not before Kendrick learns a powerful lesson about forgiveness.

What I Like: Black's message to teens about the dangers of rebellion is subtle, and framed in an exiting adventure. He is never "preachy," but comes across as wise and concerned. His discussion questions and answers at the back of the book rely on Scripture and personal application. This book would be a unique and engaging choice to use as a Bible study with groups of boys or girls.

I love how Black includes many female knights, and portrays them as smart, courageous, and highly skilled.

Black's writing is authentic, and his word choice even feels medieval. He provides detailed information about skills such as jousting and sword play, and provides maps, and castle schematics as well.

What I Dislike: Black only gives us hints throughout about Sir Kendrick's past, and I wish we knew more about him. However, this is the first book in the Knights of Arrethtrae series, so I am sure we will learn more about Kendrick in subsequent books.

Overall Rating: Very Good

Age Appeal: 9 and up

Publisher Info: Multnomah Books, 2008; ISBN: 978-1-60142-124-1 ; Paperback, 169 pages, $9.99

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OR Buy it at for $9.99.

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