The seventh in The Princelings of the East series is narrated by the eponymous Willoughby, who first appeared in the Talent Seekers as one of the ‘talents’ and mentor to Humphrey.
As might be expected from a Narrator, Willoughby tells his story with style and panache, starting with his somewhat surprising arrival in the Realms. The first part of the book takes us from the realisation that he was stuck here, through his adventures as he finds a way of making a living until he can return to where he belongs. That all ends when he falls from a high tower at Castle Deeping during the battles between Deeping and White Horse, as detailed in the Talent Seekers, and not elaborated on in his tale. Willoughby concentrates on the new story – what happened next, what he got up to as an itinerant narrator, and how he eventually compromised his career and had to start again. He treats us to a number of his special tales in the process, all the while reporting the changes in the social structure of the Realms as the Troubles deepen. Where will it all end?
Willoughby demanded that his story should be told. I was halfway through part one, driven to get as much down on paper as I could, when the news came through that the person who was his inspiration had died suddenly. I more or less completed part one, wondering whether to retell his role in the Talent Seekers, or to give a modest summary, which is what my Willoughby eventually did. ‘Eventually,’ because over two years went by before I took up his story again. Once I realised where the story ended, for now, I could get going again. Willoughby’s story becomes entwined with that of Fred and George, the original Princelings, so there will be more to hear from him before the end of the saga.
Lovers of the series will enjoy this latest adventure, and I sometimes think newcomers could start here without too many problems. But they may find it easier to start with book 1 or book 5. It’s a mystery adventure in a world not quite like ours, suitable for age 10 and upwards.
Ready for a taste? You can sample the first few chapters by clicking the Preview button above, complete with their illustrations. You can also read the first chapter on Smashwords.
If you don’t mind a few spoilers, you may like to read Jemima’s interview with Willoughby from July 2016
Facts about the book
First Published: 27th April 2017
Publisher: Princelings Publications
Words/Pages (approx): 55,000 words; 270 pages (paperback)
Age range/reading skill: confident reading skills needed; ages 10 and upwards
EReader formats: Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, pdf
ASIN (Amazon): B06XVZTCB7