This medieval fantasy book is fourth in the "Knights of Arrethtrae" series by Chuck Black and is published by Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
Lady Carliss and the Waters of Moorue is written for kids ages 10 to 14. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
While returning home from an aid mission, Lady Carliss is convinced by fellow travelers to stop at her friend Salina's farm. Upon their arrival, they find that marauders have abducted Salina's family. Sir Dalton has been searching for Carliss and arrives at the farm around the same time. Two esca dragons (huge lizards) attack Dalton and Carliss, and Dalton is bitten by one of the poisonous creatures. Carliss and Salina hastily leave for Moorue in search of Salina's family and an antidote to the poison.
They arrive in Moorue and discover that most of the citizens have become addicted to the waters of Moorue, a powerful drug-like drink produced by Lord Malco and made from esca dragon crystals. Carliss has only 10 days to find the antidote to the poison — the antidote comes from lilies that grow in the middle of a swamp. The swamp is home to hundreds of esca dragons. Running out of time, Carliss is forced to choose between saving Dalton and saving dozens of innocent prisoners held by Malco. She decides to save the prisoners and then defeats Malco with the help of an army of Silent Warriors. To ensure that the intoxicating waters of Moorue will no longer be produced, she kills the queen mother esca dragon. In the meantime, an eagle named Spirit flies the antidote to Dalton, and his life is spared.
In this Christian allegory, Carliss is a Knight of the Prince. The Prince (Jesus) was sent to Arrethtrae (earth) by the King to prepare his followers for battle against Lucius (Satan) and his minions (Shadow Warriors). The Silent Warriors represent God's angels. The haven represents a church where knights are trained and the battles in which the Knights of the Prince engage are similar to the spiritual battles Christians face in the world.
It's clear that Carliss and Koen respect their parents. Carliss, however, is by herself throughout the book and takes on the authority role herself. She is presented as a strong and mature young woman. Si Kon, a Knight of the Prince in Moorue, is presented as a strong believer. He lives to serve the Prince and dearly loves his wife and daughters.
Other Belief Systems
A marauder on horseback runs into a tree branch and breaks his neck while being pursued by Carliss and Salina. Two vicious esca dragons attack Dalton and Carliss in a barn. Carliss kills one of them with bow and arrow; the other one bites Dalton, poisoning him. Ganoaf cuts down two of Malco's guards with his sword. Carliss' sword tears into the side of a Vincero knight, killing him. A massive caged hog is lowered into a pit teeming with hundreds of esca dragons. The dragons repeatedly sting the hog, which is then raised out of the pit. Men extract the poison from the hog, which is used to make esca crystals and subsequently the Waters of Moorue. Malco grabs Carliss by the neck, squeezes and then presses his finger into the base of her jawbone to open her mouth. He then drugs her by pouring a vial of esca crystals beneath her tongue. She tries to spit it out but Malco stops her. He forces her jaw closed and slams her back into her chair. He then lifts her from the chair and throws her into a door. Carliss finds a badly beaten Ganoaf in prison and wipes blood from his mouth. Carliss slays the queen mother esca dragon during a violent battle in the swamp.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Both Dalton and Carliss face many trials as a result of their status as Knights of the Prince. In the Bible, Jesus says that Christians will face struggles of various kinds.
What is the best way to prepare for them?
What does God give believers to help face obstacles?
- Carliss senses that there is something wrong with Salina's story, and she doesn't like the way Salina treats Ganoaf.
Why does Carliss help Salina find her family anyway?
- Carliss first sees Ganoaf when he is being heckled by some young children.
What does Carliss do?
Why does Carliss treat Ganoaf the way she does?
What does she find out about Ganoaf later in the story?
- The Waters of Moorue provide people with a way to escape.
What are some modes of escape teens use today?
Do they produce positive or negative effects?
What types of things do you like to do to relax and "escape," whether it be reading or watching television?
- Carliss has to decide between saving Dalton and saving the prisoners being held in Moorue.
How does she make her decision?
Was the decision she made the right thing to do?
What would you have done in that situation?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.