Summary: With a unfulfilled prophecy looming over Magnus, King Arthur’s former castle, many factions with different intentions are fighting to see how it will turn out. At the centre of the prophecy is a young man named Thomas, rumoured to be the one who will take back Magnus and restore rightful ownership to his family. With the help of knight, a young petty thief and a deaf mute young woman all meant for the gallows, Thomas leaves the abbey where he lived with monks and sets out to make the prophecy come true. There are a lot of mysterious forces working both for and against him, but somehow he must find the courage and determination to see through the death wish of his beloved mentor and mother.
Number of Pages: 213
Age Range: 13-15
Review: There’s something about the world of knights, kings and castles that takes a reader to a whole other place. It’s a world where physical strength equals power, and hopefully those who have the power abide by rules of loyalty, chivalry and honour.
But when power is abused, it seems the Immortals are in charge of making things right. Since The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer is the first in a series called Merlin’s Immortals, I don’t have a very clear idea of who the Immortals actually are after one book, although I believe they are a force for good. Little confused how someone who is considered an Immortal can die, but I’m guessing that is or will be explained in the other books in the series.
While I had some questions by the end of the story, there weren’t any that Brouwer didn’t ask himself. Thomas’ tale of rising from slave status for monks at the abbey to taking over Magnus, King Arthur’s former estate, is riveting. He’s a clever character with good intentions, and I loved his rag-tag company that helps him achieve the prophecy. I had my doubts about whether they would be able to or not, but Brouwer’s story development was convincing.
Mostly I just love being immersed in that time period, when magic was a solar eclipse and knowledge about powders and acids that can incapacitate a person’s enemies. It was a change of pace from the books I’ve been reading lately, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it compares to Brouwer’s contribution to Seven the Series.
“‘You show uncanny wisdom for a boy,’ Monk Philip choked out, his head still low. When he straightened, he made no effort to hide tears. ‘Perhaps that is the worst of it all, not to make a choice between good or evil. I’m old now. I can barely hear, yet the slightest noise wakens me from troubled sleep. My bones are brittle and I’m afraid of falling, even from the steps to the chapel. The terrifying blackness of death is too soon ahead of me, and all I am to the God who waits is an empty man who has only pretended to be in His service.'” – Monk Philip from The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer, page 23
“‘Listen carefully,’ the knight said with a grin that reflected their growing friendship. ‘Aside from faith and honor, knowledge is the most valuable thing a man can possess, and far more useful than a sword.'” – William from The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer, page 104
“‘Thomas, Thomas…’ Katherine placed a cool hand upon his.
He shook free. ‘And you,’ he blurted with anger. ‘How could you be so cursed if God truly loved. . .?’ Then he realized what he was saying. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said in a low voice.
‘Do not trouble yourself,’ Katherine said. ‘I am accustomed to the covering of my face.’ She touched the bandages lightly. ‘This is not a curse. It is only a burden. After all, our time on earth is so short. And God is more interested in our hearts and souls than in our appearances.'” – Conversation between Katherine and Thomas from The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer, page 164