The story of a king, damsels in distress and knights to rescue them all.
An engaging prologue sets the stage as sixth-century Eastern Europe. The easy to read layout initially seems geared toward a young adult audience, but more mature readers will also find the story of Edmund, the future king, and Aldric, the future king’s champion, enticing. Unfortunately, early promise gives way to structural problems, the foremost being the lack of any historical detail in dialogue, dress or setting. Even the names of the majority of the characters are not sixth-century Eastern European in origin but rather a mix of Old English, German and Latin names. The lack of historical detail presents a story that could take place in any period in history or even in the future. Additionally, the simplistic plot skims the surface, never getting too deep, which prevents the reader from feeling either great tragedy or great love. Characters are predictable, yet likeable, and fall into either good guys or bad guys. Edmund is destined to be king but isn’t sure that’s what he wants to be. Ursula, his consort through an arranged marriage, is deceitful and conniving. Aldric becomes king through circumstance, though he has no interest in kingship. There are no surprises in store for the reader, delightful or otherwise. While the narration of the prologue and battle scenes is well crafted, the dialogue in subsequent chapters feels stiff. Whether between love interests such as Edmund and Ursula, and Aldric and Anneliese, or between comrades such as Aldric and Nikolaus, the dialogue is used as a tool to create a tone of formality, but instead hinders the flow of the tale.
A simple, brief story to pass a couple of hours.