King Rat (gkr) wrote,
King Rat

John Christopher (Samuel Youd), The Prince in Waiting

[The Prince in Waiting cover]So, with my book purge I now have (or soon will have) room on my shelves for some other books. It's not often that I am premature, but I decided to go pick up some books (say like 16 of them) this weekend. A few of them were young adults books I loved when I was younger but that have somehow migrated out of my collection over the years. One set was The Chronicles of Narnia. Another was The Sword of the Spirits trilogy. I never actually owned this series, but John Christopher's books were what originally turned me on to science fiction in 7th grade. After I had pretty much emptied out the accepted books from the Shoreline Public Library, started in on their science fiction. My primary impetus was the couple of S.F. books in the young adult section. The Tripods and The Sword of the Spirits.

To this day, I think the latter series is one of the most well crafted S.F. series ever written. Because of the young adult nature of the stories, Christopher had to dispense with a lot of the fluff that goes into an adult S.F. novel. What's left is a solid core. The first book, The Prince in Waiting introduces us to Luke Perry. Luke is the son of a commoner ennobled on the field of battle. Two Captains in the city of Winchester depose the sitting Prince, but cannot agree to install either family as the new Prince. Luke's father becomes the compromise choice for Prince because the Hardings and Blaines think they can control him. He is not to be controlled though, and becomes the strongest prince of the warring city-states that dominate post-apocalyptic England. The whole story is Machiavellian in its portrayal of all its characters. Not one is good or evil. Instead, they are all portrayed as smart or slow, hot or cool-headed, etc. All are morally tainted. Which to me is as it should be in a medieval setting. And except for the references to the apocalypse, one wouldn't really know the story comes from anywhere but Medieval times. Until the end, that is…

Tags: books

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