A reluctant heir to the throne learns that the king of England’s job is more dangerous and fantastic than he imagined.
Alfie, named for Alfred the Great, does not dream of defending the country against Vikings but of being just a regular white kid. But as Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, his life is mapped out for him. Fourteen-year-old mixed-race Hayley is visiting the Tower of London with her Jamaican-born grandmother when she witnesses an epic battle between the Black Lizard and the mysterious white knight known as the Defender. However, even though dozens caught it on video, any evidence is quickly squashed. When his father dies unexpectedly, Alfie must become not only the monarch, but the literal Defender of the realm. But the key to defeating the Black Lizard might lie in the lizard scale that Hayley retrieved from the Tower battle. The familiar theme of reluctant hero–turned–determined savior is enlivened here by a combination of fast-paced action and intriguing characters. Alfie, with his clumsiness, fear, and insecurity, is decidedly human. Hayley is tough, determined, and bright—in short, an excellent sidekick. An obvious reveal at the end only diminishes the story slightly. The open ending hints at more adventures to come.
A thrilling mashup of history and fantasy. (Fantasy. 8-12)