THE KING’S ARROW by Michael Cadnum

THE KING’S ARROW

Age Range: 12 - 15

KIRKUS REVIEW

Another medieval tale from Cadnum—this one set in 1100 and centered on the killing of William Rufus, son of William the Conqueror. Historians disagree about whether the king’s death was an assassination or a hunting accident. The author offers an answer, but he wraps it in a slow-moving, unsuspenseful story that is more about the Norman oppression of the English than any specific character or event. He also has two characters duking it out for the role of protagonist: Simon, a young half-Norman, half-English minor noble caught in the clash of cultures; and the king’s veteran, fiercely loyal marshal Roland, weary after years of bloodshed but never shy about creating more. Of the two, Roland is the more vividly drawn. Simon isn’t entirely a passive observer but he does more reacting than acting; his motives are no more clear to readers than they are to him, and his later, closing encounter with a beautiful noblewoman in Normandy gives the resolution a Disney-esque cast. Cadnum’s novels about the Crusades, for all their flaws, are considerably more compelling. (foreword) (Historical fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-670-06331-4
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2007




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