This medieval adventure is the first book in "The Knights of Arrethtrae" series by Chuck Black and is published by Multnomah Books.
Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione is written for kids 9 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Sir Kendrick and Sir Duncan (Kendrick's trainee) serve the King and his son, the Prince. When they discover evil Lord Ra is luring young people into his service, they travel to Ra's castle in the town of Bel Lione. Ra's warriors capture Duncan before the knights have time to formulate a plan, and Kendrick must seek the help of Landor, a former knight of Ra, to learn how to rescue Duncan from Ra's fortress. Landor and Kendrick help Duncan escape. Still concerned for the youths that Ra is deceiving and the prisoners he has stashed in dungeons below the castle, the knights fight against and eventually conquer Ra in the name of the King and the Prince.
This book is set up as a Christian allegory in that the characters mirror biblical people: Ra is similar to Satan, the King and the Prince represent God and Christ, and Kendrick resembles the apostle Paul, who shuns his past to follow Christ. Kendrick and Duncan often talk about the King's power, and Kendrick sees a change in Landor as Landor learns more about the Prince. The battles fought against Ra demonstrate the clashes Christians experience today between good and evil in the spiritual realm.
Kendrick is a valiant knight who wrestles with his past and puts aside his own desire for honor in order to serve the King. He patiently trains Duncan, even though he initially feels the boy is impetuous. Landor, a former warrior of Ra, puts himself in danger to help Kendrick and Duncan. Ra, the epitome of evil, employs worldly enjoyment to draw in new recruits. Those who don't follow him are starved and tortured in Ra's dungeons. The King and Prince, though never appearing in the book, demonstrate their influence and power in the lives they've changed and in the way their followers successfully battle evil.
Other Belief Systems
Enemy guards wound Kendrick's horse, and blood wolves, which are Ra's guard animals, attack Kendrick. Readers will also find several bloody battle scenes.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Why doesn't Kendrick care about winning events in the tournament?
- In Chapter 15, Landor talks about three different ways people are often taken in by Lord Ra's enticements.
What are they?
How can one who serves the King take another route and avoid these entanglements?
- When Duncan chooses to return to Lord Ra's castle, he begins to feel anxious as he remembers the torture he experienced there.
Why does he go anyway?
What would you have done?
- At Lord Ra's parties, young people drink and flirt with one another and behave wildly.
What is dangerous about Lord Ra's parties?
- If you were Kendrick, could you have forgiven Landor when you learned he'd killed your family?
Have you ever had to forgive someone for something they did to hurt you?
How difficult was it?
You can discuss the meaning of the word allegory to help young readers understand how the battles described in this book mirror spiritual battles.
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