If you ask Simon Sharp how his parents died, the 14-year-old New Yorker will tell you King Arthur killed them. Obsessed with Camelot, the two scholars perished in a plane crash en route to an archaeological dig in England.
Simon spends two awful years in an orphanage before his uncle surfaces. He offers Simon residence at a creepy mansion in Scotland where every shadow hides a surprise— including a girl, Maille Rose, who flickers in and out of view like a ghost. Maille warns Simon he’s in danger and, oh yes, he’s a descendant of King Arthur’s powerful knight, Lancelot.
That’s Simon’s response too.
But she’s right about the danger. Simon’s life becomes a battle for survival when his teacher is killed in front of him. Accused of murder, Simon escapes into the wilderness…
… where he gets kidnapped by a drunk troll. At this point, Simon’s tired of surprises. Which is too bad because then he’s saved by a 7-foot elderly man claiming to be Merlin. Maille Rose, Merlin’s apprentice, arrives swinging her bat-wand and leads them to a hidden castle.
This, she says, is New Camelot.
Which is when the fun begins.
Join The Camelot Kids in Part One of a four-part series. Written by the author of the Shirley Link mystery series, with cover art by Nathan Fox (Batman, Iron Man, Dogs of War). (Goodreads)
This is part one of a new series from author Ben Zackheim (author of the Shirley Link series). The first thing that grabbed me was the cover art and illustrations – they are awesome and eye-catching.
Part one does a great job to set up the series and introduce us to the main character, Simon. He’s quite a mischievous kid, who has unfortunately lost his parents to tragedy as they chased their lifelong dream. An underlying challenge for Simon is his sense of belonging. He is pushed from home to home, and his rebellious side surfaces. Being a strong lad, he has made the decision that he can’t rely on anyone else. One day he is plucked from his troubled life by a distant uncle in Scotland, who had never really been in touch before, or approved of his parents’ career. It’s when he arrives at the ‘family’ digs in Scotland that the tale starts to move into an exciting and original setting. We are embarking on his journey to discover his past and his future purpose.
The story describes his difficulties at his new school in Scotland, and of his meeting a mysterious girl, who joins him on his journey of discovery. Simon finds himself struggling with his long-term beliefs and doubts about his parents work, and the reality of his new surroundings. Part one has many interesting characters and ends at a point in Simon’s quest, which teases with the promise of exciting adventures ahead.
This is an original spin on and age-old legend, which has me hooked. I will continue to read this series of four (I think) parts. Great job. Recommended for kids (and adults) who are fans of King Arthur and Camelot with a twist.
Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.