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Book Review

“The Accidental Highwayman”

12/3/2014

Courtesy of Beaverdale Booksbook

Review by Harriet Leitch 

Tor Books

Oct. 14, 2014

Hardcover $17

HIV

304 pages

Sometimes a book just grabs me because of its title. There was no way I could resist “The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides.” Ben Tripp’s new young adult novel is the delightful first part of a swashbuckling trilogy.

Kit Bristol is an orphan and former circus performer. He is the only servant of James Rattle, a wastrel who gambles and drinks away his allowance and has nothing of worth but his magnificent horse, Midnight, and superior swordsmanship skills. One night, Kit awakens to discover his master with a mortal wound and learns that Mr. Rattle is, in fact, the notorious highwayman, Whistling Jack. To escape his killers, Kit dons his master’s costume and rides into the dark on Midnight.

It turns out that the highwayman is not as bad as his detractors claim, and Kit soon learns that, in taking his identity, he has also taken on Whistling Jack’s promise to stop the marriage of the man who will be King George III to Morgana, a fairy princess. To complete his task, Kit and Midnight need to transport the princess to Ireland where we meet the sundry magical persons — inhabitants of Faerie Land, who use impish magic and communicate via bees. Tripp has created a world where the human realm overlaps with the magical, and, not surprisingly, the charming Kit and beautiful Morgana fall in love. Maybe this is impossible, but according to the moral of the story, the heart is wiser than the head.

If you are looking for a fun adventure to share with the family for the holidays, this enchanting romp is it.  CV

Shirley Shiffler grew up in Urbandale, graduated from Drake (twice!), and lives in Beaverdale.

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