The Adventures of Horace, George and Ingle by HW Cumming

The Adventures of Horace, George and Ingle

The Rise of The Black Knight
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this debut middle-grade fantasy tale, the first in a series, three brothers set out on a quest to uncover the identity of a magical arsonist and protect their homeland from a sinister scheme.
The kingdom of Galray is a typical, old-school fantasy realm, in which knights spar, dragons soar, and women are few and far between. When a freak lightning storm sets the nearest village ablaze with an unquenchable flame, King Reynold suspects foul play, so he enlists his three sons to track down the perpetrator and determine his motives. His eldest son, Ingle, and twins Horace and George think they have a lead, as they spied a shadowy figure skulking around the castle tower on the night of the storm. Now they must trek through Galray and other, more distant lands to seek the Oracle of the mountain, who they believe can direct them to the truth. Along the way, they get cryptic advice from gnomish trickster Rifflesly and encounter a rogue ice dragon who might be the key to solving the mystery. It’s a story as straightforward as a role-playing-game campaign, and Cumming provides clean, effective prose throughout. It reads like a well-designed Dungeons & Dragons session, and like D&D heroes, the brothers are defined more by their skills, such as their sharp senses, than by their personalities. Similarly, the supporting cast is as two-dimensional as the book’s black-and-white illustrations. The drawings’ cartoonish simplicity identifies the novel as one meant for the younger set, as does the shape-shifting Rifflesly, Cumming’s version of the Cheshire Cat. His eccentric speech patterns and riddles may frustrate or delight readers, but they may wonder why he or the Oracle would bother to help the brothers. It’s equally hard to grasp the motivations of the villain, the Black Knight, but perhaps the author will explore his psyche further in the sequel.

A lightweight, pleasant adventure for younger readers, featuring derring-do but little psychological depth.
Pub Date: June 18th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1460238455
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: FriesenPress
Program: Kirkus Indie
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