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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Book Review: In Search of Adventure


“A novel of adventure, comradeship, and suspense, as a valiant knight seeks to overcome his merciless foes and retain honor in a hostile land.” [From the back cover]

In Search of Adventure is the second full-length novel of Alicia Willis, one of my favorite new authors, and the second installment of her Comrades of Honor series. It continues the story of To Birmingham Castle. Like the first, it breathes history and proves that the old way of storytelling is effective and compelling.

It felt like the Middle Ages, from its accurate description of the life of knights and squires to its extolment of chivalry, virtue, and heroism to its third-person omniscient narration and the Middle English dialogue of its characters. Miss Willis has certainly accomplished her goal of writing a historical fiction series that’s “family-friendly, entertaining, yet accurate.” (From The Comrades of Honor Series website.) I really appreciate her skill!

I found the characters interesting and endearing: Kenneth Dale, the squire, was perhaps my favorite of all the series yet. Adela, Sir Nathaniel’s love, was runner-up. Even though there were many dangerous moments, these by no means overshadowed the richness of the characters. The three main characters were such good friends and it warmed my heart to read their banter, because it was just like friends tease each other today, only in the beautiful language of old England. Each one’s devotion was exemplary.

Even though all of the main characters were virtuous, Miss Willis correctly portrayed them as exceptions, because there were many unscrupulous people – such as murderous lords and brutal knights – during that time and in the book. But we wouldn’t want to read about them without the light of true Christians nearby, now would we? What a depressing prospect! Fortunately, In Search of Adventure showed, in powerful ways, good triumphing over evil. People like Sir Nathaniel and Kenneth modeled godly character, which included making hard choices and dying to self. It influences you to analyze your own actions and motives.

I can think of only one downside, but really, it may not be a downside at all, because Miss Willis specifically targeted this subject: the book focused on small noblemen, knights, and squires, and very little on any other personality. But this limited focus allowed the relationships between the characters to be depicted in full.

There’s one more book in this series, scheduled for 2014. Let’s just say I’m glad 2014 is almost here – I can’t wait to find out how this series will wrap up!

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