Knight’s Ransom (The First Argentines #1)
Published January 26, 2021
About Knight’s Ransom
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. A brutal war of succession has plunged the court of Kingfountain into a power struggle between a charitable king who took the crown unlawfully and his ambitious rival, Devon Argentine. The balance of power between the two men hinges on the fate of a young boy ensnared in this courtly intrigue. A boy befittingly nicknamed Ransom.
When the Argentine family finally rules, Ransom must make his own way in the world. Opportunities open and shut before him as he journeys along the path to knighthood, blind to a shadowy conspiracy of jealousy and revenge. Securing his place will not be easy, nor will winning the affection of Lady Claire de Murrow, a fiery young heiress from an unpredictably mad kingdom.
Ransom interrupts an abduction plot targeting the Queen of Ceredigion and earns a position in service to her son, the firstborn of the new Argentine dynasty. But conflict and treachery threaten the family, and Ransom must also come to understand and hone his burgeoning powers—abilities that involve more than his mastery with a blade and that make him as much a target as his lord.
Once again Jeff Wheeler returns to the world of the Kingfountain books, this time to tell a story of knights and lords and ladies in the vein of King Arthur tales. KNIGHT’S RANSOM follows the boy Marshall, nicknamed Ransom for his childhood spent as a captive of the king, from his boyhood into his middle twenties. Chapters are from his point-of-view, but between them are journal entries from Claire, his childhood companion and the woman he grows to love.
Other than the obligatory battle scenes, the story is pretty gently told with a lot of narrative and internal monologue keeping us pretty close to Ransom’s view of things. From early on in his life as a knight, Ransom experiences the sound of rushing waters when he fights. He begins to be more curious about the source of that experience and what it might require of him, but the story doesn’t really center around that. It’s more about the politics of the kingdom and Ransom’s role in the events unfolding, but it seems as though the series might pursue Ransom’s gift more in a follow-up book.
I think my favorite parts were the journal entries by Lady Claire. She’s feisty and frank and smart. I think she’s perfect for Ransom, who’s steady and often outwardly very calm.
Fans of Wheeler’s books will love visiting the world of Kingfountain again, and new readers who enjoy King Arthur-esque stories will find a great story landscape within KNIGHT’S RANSOM.
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Takes place in a country similar to UK. Few race details given.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Ransom uses a two-handed sword called a “bastard” sword, so that word appears regularly.
Brief kiss between boy and girl. A woman tries to seduce a man.
Ransom’s people worship the Lady of the Fountain. Ransom himself hears rushing water in battle or feels a warning when danger is near.
Several scenes show graphic battles.
Ransom accompanies a prince and his friends to a tavern where they drink alcohol. Ransom stays sober to protect the prince.
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