The Princelings of the North
Book 8 of the Princelings of the East series
by Jemima Pett
Genre: older middle grade mystery adventure – age 10 and upwards.
ebook: 47,000 words, ebook ASIN B0785RY891 / ISBN 9781370899159
paperback: 237 pages; ISBN 9781389104404
The Princelings of the North is the eighth in The Princelings of the East series.
Princelings Dylan and Dougall, who live in the far northwest of an island off the northwest coast of the Realms, rescue an exiled prince, and battle against the odds to restore him to his birthright.
Irrepressible Dylan and steady Dougall are inseparable denizens of the tiny castle of Haunn, so far away from the rest of civilisation that it’s almost off the map. And maps are one of the key elements of this intricate adventure. Dylan finds a treasure map inside a bottle washed up on the shore – and he reckons he knows where X is. Instead of treasure, he finds the exiled Prince Kevin of Castle Deeping, antagonist in the Talent Seekers, bit-player in Bravo Victor, and mystery prince in Willoughby the Narrator. Kevin has had time to realise what a fool he’s been, and now wants vengeance and his castle back, which is just the sort of adventurous challenge that Dylan craves.
Lovers of the series will devour this latest adventure, but newcomers may find it best to start with the box set of books 1-3 or book 5; book 7 links to Kevin’s disappearance. This is a mystery adventure in a world not quite like ours, suitable for age 10 and upwards. The series is set to conclude with book 10.
Excerpt“It’s a map, look! A treasure map!”
Dougall looked at the scrap of paper his brother Dylan had smoothed out on their bed.
“How do you know it’s a map?”
Dylan sighed, and pointed out the lines. “There’s the outline of the island, and the rocky inlet where the boats go in, and the wiggly lines are where the creek goes into the marshes. And there’s an X for where the treasure is buried!” he finished, leaping off the bed. “Oh, why can’t we go now? It might rain tomorrow!”
“But where did you get it?” Dougall was not one to act without all the facts.
“It got washed into the tide pool down near the Ensay Burn. I fished it out. It was in a bottle. I saw it glinting green and bobbing about. I thought it had a stick inside it, but it broke when I dropped it on the way back and I found the paper!”
“But why do you think it’s a treasure map?” Dougall had not yet caught his brother’s enthusiasm.
“It’s got an X on it, look!”
“It could mean anything, X.”
Dougall thought for a bit. He wasn’t familiar with maps, except of the night sky, since he was one of the star-watching team at the castle. He didn’t go out of the castle much, except onto the crags above to check the solar cells or the turbine flow. It was Dylan who went all over the island, running messages. He’d been most places.
“Have you been to this place?” he asked Dylan, wondering whether he really did know what he was talking about after all.
“Umm, not exactly. It’s pretty much on the way to Tober Hold, but I usually go a bit further up the glen, and keep to the high ground. This bit’s all wet.” He pointed to the network of lines he’d described as the creek.
“And there’s nothing there that could be marked as a cross?”
Dylan thought for a bit. Then he looked at the map again and then at his feet. “There’s ruin on a rock. By the crossroads,” he mumbled.
Dougall looked closer at the map. “Well, nobody’s marked the roads going into and out of the cross. You might still be right. Is it the right place for the crossroads?”
It was Dylan’s turn to study the map closely. “Yes,” he concluded. He stared at it for a moment. “Why would anyone…”
“Mark a cross on a map and not the roads leading up to it?” finished Dougall, his eyes sparkling. “How long will it take us to get there?”
© J M Pett 2018 The Princelings of the North ch 1
Note: I may not be wholly objective, as Jemima Pett is a friend and a key member of my "writer's group" (which exists only in the ether). Nonetheless, I have tried to keep an open mind and give an accurate review.
I had the privilege of an advance reading of the manuscript of The Princelings of the North, as a beta reader/editor, and I'm delighted to report that this is a great addition to the series. I had already grown fond of Dylan and Dougall from the short stories in which they feature ("Dylan's Yuletide Journey" and "Dougall's Reindeer Adventure," appearing in the Bookelves Anthology vols. 1 and 2 respectively, as well as the story mentioned below), and they did not disappoint here.
Dylan and Dougall share billing with Kevin, and all three are perfect for a kids' story: a bit naive, but with a clear sense of justice and the courage to take big chances for it. Their adventures are exciting, but never gory; violence lurks around the corner but doesn't break out beyond the reasonable bounds of a children's book.
The story is definitely part of a series, and I recommend starting at the beginning, though the book will not be incomprehensible without doing so. Even though the northern princelings are unaware of much of what has been happening in the south, it helps if the reader knows, not to mention being more fun to feel like you know something the characters don't. And, while the adventure is completed at the end (no cliff-hangers!), it is clear that the world needs those last two books to get everything in order, and Dylan, Dougall, and Kevin may well have further roles to play. Part of me did want a tidier tie-up at the end, but I don't think the story suffers.
The writing is strong and clean, as I have come to expect from the author, and the chapter illustrations are charming:
I have recommended the series before, and that hasn't changed. It's a great read for anyone from 10 up (like my own books, Jemima Pett's stories are in some ways children's books in name only, and have as great an appeal to adult lovers of fantasy and science fiction). The Princelings of the North is a worthy addition to the series.
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Paperback: Amazon.com *** Book Depository
Raising money for the Ulva Buyout Appeal #UlvaBuyoutThe little island of Ulva is just to the south of the area where Jemima has placed Castle Haunn, Dylan and Dougall’s home on the Isle of Mull. The community of North West Mull have the opportunity to buy the island from the current landowner, and use it as a sustainable resource, securing their own futures. Jemima invites everyone to join in her part of the fundraising effort on her JustGiving page, where you can get more details.
Anyone donating on her page will get a copy of a new novella written especially for the appeal, Dylan and the Lights of Ulva, with Jemima’s thanks.
Please help to promote this massive appeal for the small number (in the tens rather than the hundreds) of islanders.
About the AuthorJemima wrote her first book when she was eight years old. She was heavily into world-building, drawing maps, building railway timetables, and dreaming of being a champion show-jumper, until schoolwork got in the way. Then she went down the science path, writing research papers, manuals and reports, as well as editing the newsletters for her sports clubs. Forty years on she started writing stories about her guinea pigs and their adventures in a fantasy world where everything ran on strawberry juice. Eventually the Princelings of the East took shape, originally intended as a trilogy, but the characters just wouldn’t lie down. The planned ending will now be with book ten.
Meanwhile, Jemima continues to enjoy the company of new guinea pigs in her home in Norfolk, UK. You can enjoy their blog George’s Guinea Pig World.
Connect with Jemima Pett: Blog ** Amazon ** Goodreads ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Pinterest ** Smashwords
Giveaway prizes include copies of the new paperback and the ebook of the Box Set internationally, with an extra prize for a UK winner.a Rafflecopter giveaway
FTC Disclosure: I was given a pre-publication draft to proof-read, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for that work or for this review. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."