THE KESTREL by Lloyd Alexander

THE KESTREL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Alexander's Westmark ended with printer's devil Theo helping oust the villains at court and his beggar girlfriend Mickle revealed as Princess Augusta. Now, with Theo off sounding the population, the king dies and the treacherous ousted minister plots with neighboring Regians to invade Westmark. The chief Westmark general, also in on the plot, will surrender early and take part in the new power structure. But when he does, Mickle--as Queen Augusta--takes command of her troops; and Theo joins his old Revolutionary friends, who are fighting as guerrillas in temporary support of the queen. Most of the story takes place during the fighting, when Theo becomes famous as the bloodthirsty guerrilla captain Kestrel but is privately wrenched by the behavior that becomes necessary in war. There is other talk about measures that are revoltingly necessary--press censorship, for one--until, after many casualties among friends and enemies, Mickle herself negotiates a peace with the Regians' hitherto pathetic young captive king. (Says he, "Now they won't call me Constantine the Coward. I'll be Constantine the Conciliator.") The revolutionaries will share in the new constitutional government, as will Theo, but Mickle will keep her throne as she can't trust anyone else not to "botch" the job. This is old-fashioned story-telling through-and-through, its handling of themes more fossilized than timeless--which is probably fine with Alexander's audience.
Pub Date: April 1st, 1982
ISBN: 0141310693
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1982




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