The Player King

Avi. Atheneum/Jackson, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4814-3768-4
Once again, Avi (The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts) whisks readers back in time to witness the adventures of a boy in danger. It’s 1486 in Oxford, England, where orphan Lambert Simnel works long hours as a tavern scullion. His dismal fate changes overnight when he is purchased by a Dominican priest, who claims that Limbert is the rightful heir to King Richard’s throne, which has been usurped by King Henry VII. The friar’s goal is to return the boy to his “rightful” position, but first Lambert—now called Edward, Earl of Warwick—must learn how to be a king. Based on historical fact, the novel strongly depicts Lambert’s emotions: his initial confusion, his growing excitement over the prospect of gaining wealth and power (although he knows he has no true claim to the throne), and his fear when he realizes that he is being used as a pawn in a deadly game. Avi’s short, accessible chapters and candid first-person narration create suspense and strongly evoke the political climate of the era, revealing an odd, mysterious chapter in England’s history. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/07/2017
Release date: 10/17/2017
Library Binding - 978-1-4328-4190-4
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