Tag Archives: historical fantasy

Review: The King’s Traitor by Jeff Wheeler

4 Stars

This is the third installment in the Kingfountain series and picks up seven years after The Thief’s Daughter.  Owen has gone from a frightened child, cowering in the kitchen to one of the most trusted confidants of King Severn Augustine.  He has watched his King grow ever more ruthless and mad with power.  Owen knows that it’s just a matter of time the King will fail, someone will come to topple this man he has loyally served yet come to fear and revile.  This man who has taken so much from Owen and still demands more.

Owen is ordered by his King to incite war with a neighboring kingdom.  His appetite for power has taken over his reason, Owen sees this but feels he has no choice but to obey.  Or at least appear to do so.  It seems that Owen has an agenda of his own.  It seems that there is a limit to Owen’s loyalty.  He’s been robbed of everything that he has held dear.  His protector, his mentor, his safe haven and his true love.  As Owen’s understanding of his fountain-blessed powers grows, he begins to understand the role that he must play.

Watching Owen grow over these three books has been a treat.  He has gone from a scared little boy into one of the most formidable men in the realm.  His presence and power is only enhanced by his humanity and his internal struggle with what is truly right and what is wrong.  He is taken through a gauntlet of trials and tests, each one harder than the one before.  You spend much of the book wondering if Owen will truly do the right thing or will he fall into the same trap that his King fell into before him.  Will he take the power for himself or will he allow it to transfer to its rightful owner?

There is even more magic in this book and while we are only introduced to a couple new characters, they have a huge impact on Owen and the story as a whole.  There are times where the prophesy and the powers of the fountain threaten to take over the entire narrative, but the author skillfully brings everything back together again as the story runs its course.

I was dreading the end of the book, but only because I didn’t want the story to end.  I didn’t want to leave Owen and his world.  It was bittersweet to see the story end.  I was happy and sad at the same time.  I truly enjoyed how the saga unfolded and how it concluded.  But all the same, I would really love to see Owen and his friends again.


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Review: The Queen’s Poisoner by Jeff Wheeler

4 Stars

Anyone who knows their fifteenth century European history will recognize the story that inspired this book.  Imagine if King Richard III lived.  Imagine that in 1485 he walked off the field of battle instead of having his corpse dragged through the streets.  Names, places and events have changed.  Magic has been added.  But the underlying story is still the same.

King Severn Argentine has taken control of the throne.  He is accused of murdering his young nephews to take the throne.  He’s accused of murdering his wife, his child, his brother and as many other atrocities as his enemies and the populace can dream up.  He lives up to his fearsome reputation.  He destroys his enemies and those who have betrayed him.  He takes their children hostage and destroys entire families.  He belittles, degrades, ridicules and keeps his subjects in constant fear.  The Duke of Kiskaddon gambled and backed the wrong horse.  He failed to come to his King’s aid and for that, he has been ordered to prove his loyalty.  He must send one of his children to be fostered by the king, kept as hostage in exchange for the Duke’s loyalty.  If the Duke fails, his child dies.

Owen spends much of his time learning the castle and grounds, trying to escape his keeper.  He also spends a large amount of time in the kitchen where he has made fast friends with the cook and her husband.  He has a box of tiles that he sets up in intricate patterns and then with one push, the chain reaction knocks them all down in turn.  This is where he meets his first true friend and ally in the castle, Evie.  He also meets the woman who is going to help him save his life and become indispensable to King Severn.  He meets Ankarette, the Queen’s Poisoner.  She had been tasked by the former Queen (who is now in sanctuary) to get rid of King Severn, but she failed.  She was thought to be dead, but is back once again in the castle, this time she is tasked with saving Owen’s life.

Ankarette has a plan to save Owen, one that will not only save his life but possibly the lives of his family.  Not only that, it may bring him to the point where the King can’t do without having Owen by his side.

There is plenty of intrigue and action in this book.  It was fun for me to read, already knowing the history of King Richard III and seeing the parallels to King Severn.  The characters were fun too, especially Mancini.  He was definitely the comic relief!  Many of the characters are not well rounded or their appearance is not very well explained.  There are some conspiracies that seem to be going on that aren’t well explained to the reader and don’t go anywhere in this novel, but seem to be setting up for sequels.

My biggest problem with the book was the fact that the main character is an eight year old.  I know that this is a fantasy book and that it’s possible for younger children to be wise beyond their years, especially those who have magical abilities.  But other than that, it was a nice little fantasy novel.  I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel to see what happens to Owen and Evie.



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