Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Avi. The Player King.

Avi.     The Player King.  Simon & Schuster/Atheneum      2017   199p.  $16.99  ISBN 978-1-5344-0324-6  ms/jr  Historical Fiction            VG-BN         

Lambert Simnel works as a kitchen boy in Tackleys Tavern when he is approached by a friar who inquires about his true identity. The friar and the Earl of Lincoln convince the boy that he is Edward, the Earl of Warwick, the true heir to the English throne, as opposed to King Henry VII who thinks he is the proper heir. Edward was imprisoned in the Tower of London, but is said to have escaped, and his whereabouts are unknown. Lambert is apprehensive at first, but is soon caught up in the idea of being a king. He doesnt know where he is from, thinks he is probably orphaned, but he is sure he isnt really the Earl of Warwick. He knows Lincoln is just using him to get closer to the throne himself because the public will rally behind the boy to raise an army. Lambert realizes the game he is playing is dangerous, but he begins to believe the mantra if you act like a king, you will be king. The army is raised, but King Henry prevails. He takes mercy on the boy and puts him to work in his palace kitchen.

This story is based on true events. Early on, the friar makes sure the boy understands how dangerous their actions are and explains the potential consequences to him, including drawing and quartering. It is difficult to imagine that a book written for middle-school students would have the main character facing this fate, and there is a great deal of suspense centering on how Lambert is going to survive. It is easy to see how he gets caught up in the excitement of going from kitchen boy to the King of England. He is also young enough that he doesnt think through his actions fully and is bothered by the prospect of soldiers and others dying for his rouse. This engaging and fast-paced novel will entice middle-school readers.

Summary: The Earl of Lincoln and a friar convince a young kitchen boy he is Prince Edward, the true heir to the English throne, in a plot to overthrow King Henry VII. Based on a true story.                                 

England-History-Fiction, Henry VII-Fiction

                                                                                                --Stephanie Pennucci

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