Format: Trade Paperback
Juvenile Fiction - Action & Adventure
To begin with, I should probably confess that Sigmund Brouwer is my favorite author, and has been since I was young, so I am somewhat biased. That being said, Brouwer is my favorite author because he’s simply so crazy good at what he does. A man of many talents, Brouwer’s fast-paced historical suspense thrillers always contain what is so rare in the suspense genre—complex, likeable, haunting characters in search of meaning and purpose—in addition to sophisticated plots. Also, Brouwer is equally at home setting his books in the Wild West, Ancient Rome, the Middle Ages, or the present day.
Brouwer’s latest book, The Orphan King, is a re-working of his book Magnus, which was later republished as Wings of Dawn. I hadn’t re-read Magnus in about ten years, but it was always my favorite Brouwer novel—unique among his novels, it’s an epic thriller—so I was really excited to hear that Brouwer was coming out with a retelling of the Magnus story. I was not disappointed. Brouwer writes in a prefatory note that he’s started this new series to tell the mostly-untold story of the two deadly secret societies that first appeared in Magnus, the Druids and Merlin’s Immortals. Mortal enemies, these societies create intricate plots and subplots that make Inception look like Dick and Jane. The fascinating schemes of the two enemies are not so complex as to be incomprehensible, however, just very sophisticated and intriguing. The hero of this new novel, Thomas, is a likeable, dangerous teen. Despite being raised an orphan by cruel and abusive monks, Thomas is highly educated and determined to fulfill his secret destiny, no matter how terrifying that quest may become. Grudgingly helped by a mysterious Templar who has a great secret of his own, a beautiful girl who is far more than she appears, and an irrepressibly cheery and thoroughly dishonest pickpocket, Thomas uses secret weapons from Oriental lands to make his way across Medieval England and toward the impregnable island fortress of Magnus. Thomas intends to conquer this stronghold with only himself and his three companions, and his plan is both brilliant and unique.
If you like the novels of Peretti, Dekker, or Lawhead, no offense to those talented authors, then I respectfully submit that Brouwer is more enjoyable than all of them. Brouwer is unique for his detective-novel-complexity plots; his believable, haunted characters; and his sense of humor. Brouwer did try his hand years ago at serial killer and bioengineering thrillers in Blood Ties and Double Helix, my least favorite of his novels, which were very similar to Dekker’s writing years prior to Thr3e, but while Brouwer’s writing is always good, I simply didn’t enjoy those sorts of plots and settings. You might, though! If Dekker and Peretti write Spiderman and Superman books (novels in which “impossible” supernatural things occur), then Brouwer’s books are Batman: they abound with multifaceted Byronic heroes in eminently believable situations, regardless of the time period. Brouwer’s one real weakness in The Orphan King is that almost all of his characters tend to have the same intelligent, measured voice, but as a writer myself, I can tell you that attaining a diversity of voices is phenomenally difficult, and as Brouwer does everything else so well, I’m prepared to cut him a little slack in that area. Check out The Orphan King and decide for yourself!!
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Groupfor this review.
Juvenile Fiction - Religious - Christian - Fantasy
Fiction - Christian - General