Caught up in Kingfountain Lore

Did I leave you in the depths of despair about my fan grief last week? Sometimes a fan just needs to say what she feels, you know? This week, I’m focused on the good stories being written. There are great writers making new and amazing tales, creating new worlds and inspiring a reader’s fancy. In fact, this booklover is head-over-heels for the Kingfountain Series!

 

Book 1 of the Kingfountain Series.

Jeff Wheeler’s first Kingfountain book, The Queen’s Poisoner, is a fantasy adventure with historic elements that captured my imagination from the first. Taken captive to the king’s palace, young Owen Kiskaddon (Don’t you love that name? The names in this book are splendid!) finds himself in a precarious situation. His father, a traitor to the crown, must pay for his betrayal with his life, leaving Owen’s life hanging in the balance. Feeling none-too-loyal to the king, he discovers Ankarette, the Queen’s Poisoner. Ankarette is the perfect ally… and a powerful enemy. She opens Owen’s eyes to the political upheaval going on around him, and in the process opens his mind to legendary powers he didn’t know existed!

I downloaded the Kindle edition of The Queen’s Poisoner last year and quickly knew I wanted my own physical copy… along with book 2, The Thief’s Daughter. (Greedy, aren’t I?) I saved the books to my Christmas wishlist, but no sign of Kingfountain magic graced my bookshelves. This Mother’s Day I tried a more direct approach, handing my husband and kids my list of the first three Kingfountain books. (I figured, if I’m going to be a glutton about the books, I might as well add a third.)

My book gifts came pouring in, and so did curiosity about this series. I had no qualms about sharing the first book with my kids. With its incredible, admirable characters of thought and deed, The Queen’s Poisoner is thoroughly laced with integrity and meaning. My daughter sat up reading it late into the night. How lovely it is when a mom and daughter get swept away in the same adventure!

Another fascinating aspect of Wheeler’s first book premise is the influence of the historical account of the Princes in the Tower. The disappearance in 1483 of King Edward IV’s two sons, Edward V and Richard, remains cloaked in mystery to this day. While Wheeler’s story is completely his own, there are threads and names that surface, harking back to that murderous episode in England’s history. Take the name Dominic Mancini, the royal historian both for the true and Wheeler’s fiction.

“It’s been my experience, Owen, that when everyone agrees on some point of fact, it tends to be the biggest deception of all.”

– from The Queen’s Poisoner

The Thief’s Daughter continues the historic thread. Piers Urbick surfaces as the disputed king of Ceredigion. His name sounds suspiciously like Perkin Warbeck, a claimant to Henry VII’s throne in the late 1490s who turned out to be an imposter.

Wheeler’s handling of this imposter premise is quite intriguing! In fact, I think the second book is better than the first. Owen and his friend, Evie, have grown into young adults who mean much more to each other. His responsibilities require greater risks and sacrifices. Just how often does a sequel outshine its predecessor?

If you’re a fantasy bookworm with a penchant for a strategy-filled clean read, this is the series to try! Book 3, Book 4, and the prequel, The Maid’s War, are also available on Amazon. Book 5 is in the works.

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Author: Rilla Z

I'm a scribbler. I'm genuine. Sometimes I'm too genuine. My topics of interest are: this world, the worlds inside my head, and the world to come. Oh, and cups of tea. Yes, I write about my cups of tea.

8 thoughts on “Caught up in Kingfountain Lore”

  1. I haven’t finished the second book yet, but since writing this I’ve found the legend of King Arthur being threaded through the last half of Thief’s Daughter. Squee!

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  2. I got the Queen’s Poisoner based on your recommendation. It’s pretty good. I was afraid at first it was falling into the cliche of having all the bad guys be ugly/deformed and all the good guys radiantly beautiful, but things turned out to be more complex than they appeared at first, which is always good.

    Some other historical tidbits that popped out at me: the Maid of Donremy is Joan of Arc (who in the real world was born in Domremy), and Mancini’s political philosophy (especially the bit where he says men will forget the murder of their fathers before they forget the theft of their patrimonies) is largely cribbed from Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince.

    My one major complaint is that the author misused the word “bemused” at one point in the story, apparently meaning it as a synonym for “amused” (when in fact it is a synonym for “confused”). Pet peeve of mine…

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    1. Did you also notice I summarized the book with incorrect info? That’s what comes of waiting far too long to read book 2 in a series.
      There was a statement in book 1 that bothered me because I don’t think the verb “to lie” was conjugated correctly. I noted it, but I lost my note, so I’d have to go back and find it.
      I admit, I’ve always been a bit bemused by ‘bemused.’ It has a vague connotation that the one bemused is rather fond of the one who is confusing them, doesn’t it? Not sure.
      I’m in The King’s Traitor now. I’m being rushed by a certain daughter to finish. She’s almost finished book 2 and being rushed by her sister, who has finished book 1. I’ve inadvertently created a race. 😄

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  3. The “incorrect info” you summarized the book with (if we are talking about the same thing) could be interpreted as a way to avoid spoilers. One wouldn’t realize it was incorrect until the very end. It is hard to write a review that avoids spoilers, but having certain plot details slightly wrong is one way, kind of like a map with copyright traps. Kudos to you for the innovative method of avoiding spoilers…

    My first experience with the word “bemused” was in the text-only video game Enchanter, wherein at some point you see a mirror that leads to caves and tunnels on another world, and you also sometimes see (in the mirror) a “bedraggled adventurer” with a lantern and a sword wandering around “looking bemused” (“amused” obviously wouldn’t make sense in that context). My brothers and I had to look up what both “bedraggled” and “bemused” meant (I was about seven years old at the time), so I have always known the correct meaning of “bemused”. Forever afterward I have associated “bemused” with that game. (And “bedraggled” also.)

    However, I’ve since come to envision being bemused as being both confused and amused, like you can’t decide if what you are seeing/hearing is supposed to be a joke or not (amused confusion, or perhaps confused amusion). That’s not really what it means, but I guess I am influenced by writers constantly using it in ignorance as a synonym for amused, so for me it has taken on an “amused” connotation to go with the “confused” denotation.

    Fun fact I did not know until just now: “bemused” meaning “confused” was not the original meaning of that word either, and was also a result of a popular misunderstanding. The poet Alexander Pope coined the word “bemused” with the phrase “much bemus’d in beer” (describing himself), by which he meant he drew his inspiration (i.e. his “muse”) from booze. But people misunderstood that phrase to mean “much confused by beer” (i.e. simply drunk all the time). So “confused” became the accepted meaning of “bemused”, but then later generations misunderstood the misunderstanding as “amused”. What a bemusing word-origin story, eh?

    Re: “to lie”, I have a vague recollection that there were other usage/grammar issues (besides “bemused”), but I don’t remember specifically what they were, and didn’t take notes.

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    1. No, wait! There was one additional usage issue I remember that was almost as irritating as “bemused”. And that is the strange way the author used the word “stack” more than once as meaning “to line up horizontally”. Owen “stacked” chess Wizr pieces in their starting positions and also “stacked” dominoes tiles in rows and patterns before knocking them down. This odd use of “stack” was very bemusing to me– I was like a fourth of the way through the book before I realized Owen’s tiles were dominoes, not Jenga blocks.

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