DEATH OF A KING by Andrew H.  Vanderwal


Age Range: 9 - 13
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Teenage time traveler Alex continues to search for his missing parents, blithely influencing history as he goes.

Rightly certain that his parents went to the 13th century to prevent the death of Scottish King Alexander and thereby ensure Scotland’s continued independence, he has stayed in the past in hopes of finding them (The Battle for Duncragglin, 2009). Meanwhile, his confederates in time travel, siblings Annie, Willie and Craig McRae, though newly restored to the 21st century, find a clue in an obscure account of the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 and re-enter history in order to bring him back. With them goes a graffiti-mad classmate. The convoluted plot moves back and forth between Alex and the McRaes, as the former’s misadventures near Stirling reveal a plot that influences the outcome of the fateful battle, leaving William Wallace the victor, and the latter’s efforts likewise put them in the path of the legendary leader. As in the first book, an emotional flatness hamstrings the characters’ hair-raising antics; companions are killed—or thought to be—with little effect on those left behind. The time travelers traipse around the medieval Scottish countryside with cans of spray paint and in 21st-century clothes that are barely remarked on by the locals, further emphasizing the primacy of plot over believability.

The body count is high, but credibility is very low in this tepid historical outing. (Fantasy. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-77049-398-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Tundra
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2013


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