EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
The King's Ransom
(Young Knights of the Round Table Book 1)
(Young Knights of the Round Table Book 1)
by Cheryl Carpinello
The King's Ransom is the first in the Young Knights of the Round Table series for children ages 9 and up. This book blast and giveaway is brought to you by Mother Daughter Book Promotion Services.
Three Friends. Three Quests. Three Mysterious Predictions.
At Pembroke Castle in medieval Wales, 11-year-old Prince Gavin, 13-year-old orphan Philip, and 15-year-old blacksmith’s apprentice Bryan, brought together in friendship by the one they call The Wild Man, embark upon a quest to save The Wild Man’s life when he is accused of murder and robbery. If they have any hope of succeeding, the three will have to confront their fears and insecurities, and one of them will have to disclose the biggest secret of all. But it is the arrival of King Arthur and what he reveals that surprises characters and readers.
- 2013 EVVY Finalist and EVVY Merit Award for Juvenile/Young Adult from Colorado Independent Publishers Assoc.
- 2013 Ariana Cover Finalist
- 2012 Silver Award Recipient for YA Fiction from Children’s Literary Classics and the CLC’s 2012 Seal of Approval
- 2012 Finalist E-Book Children from USA 2012 Best Book Awards
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Gavin bounded down the keep steps, eager to discover the cause of the cacophony echoing through the tower. The snorting and whinnying of horses competed with the voices of knights calling to each other across the courtyard. He stuffed his green tunic into his black breeches as he ran. In too much of a hurry to comb his hair, Gavin tried to smooth the brown cowlick with his fingers.
As the youngest prince of Pembroke Castle, Gavin dutifully attended his daily lessons. As a page, he was learning to handle a sword in battle and take care of the weapons, equipment, and horses of the knights. Soon to be a squire, he worried about how he would act in battle. Well, not exactly in battle. Squires tended the knights’ horses and guarded the supplies while they fought. The unspoken rule of warfare stated that squires couldn’t be put in danger. However, others in the castle had talked about the times the enemy had sent warriors behind the fighting to attack the supply line. Squires who hadn’t run away had been injured or killed.
Gavin worried about disgracing his family and the crown, worried that he would be scared enough to run or worse, get injured or killed.
The simple truth was, he was afraid.
Burying those thoughts, Gavin burst into the bailey courtyard amassed with horses and knights milling about. Dust swirled, choking the air, causing him to cough and sneeze. He recognized his older brother Robert across the chaotic courtyard and raised his hand in salute.
Robert led his black gelding over and handed Gavin the reins.
“Hi, Gav.” Robert tousled Gavin’s hair.
“What’s happening? Where are you going?”
“Someone broke into the throne room last night and stole the King’s Ransom...”
Gavin gasped. The medallion was made of gold and embedded with emeralds so dark the jewels looked black except in the sunlight. Then the deep green sparkled lighter and reminded him of the first blades of grass pushing up through the dark earth in the spring. The tremendous weight of the medallion required him to use both hands when holding it.
Stories passed down said that a traitor over the channel had used it to force a king to ransom his kingdom. To be in possession of it meant to be in possession of power. Many men wanted that power. Gavin’s grandfather’s grandfather had found it as a young man during the siege of a French castle. Though only seventeen, that prince had recognized its importance and had risked his life to bring it home. To protect his find, he’d spent the night in a storeroom listening to the screams of the defeated forces and the drunken laughter of the victors. He’d presented it to his father, and it had been in the possession of the King of Pembroke Castle ever since.
“...and killed one of our men,” Robert finished, breaking into his thoughts.
An image of the thin, wiry man appeared in Gavin’s mind. It wasn’t pleasant. Aldred had managed the estate and castle’s daily needs and also watched over the treasury. That meant that he frequented the throne room. Invariably he was with the king when Gavin needed to talk to his father. It bothered him that Aldred shared the private conversations he had with his father, always made him feel unimportant. But his father would be upset at his death.
“As soon as Father gets here, we’re going hunting. Man-hunting.”
“Might I go along as your squire?” Gavin asked.
Robert seemed to see the hesitation Gavin knew was etched on his face. “Not this time, Gav. You’ll get your chance to join us soon enough. And Gavin...” Robert paused. His body stiffened as he spotted the king making his way through the crowd on his black stallion. “You’ll do well.” He mounted his horse and held out a hand. Gavin handed him the reins and watched as Robert joined their father, King Wallace.
“You know your father’s rule,” a soft voice behind Gavin said.
Gavin glanced up at the tall, slender figure now standing beside him. Most days, Queen Katherine didn’t look old enough to be his mother. But today, the sadness of Aldred’s death had left its mark. He had learned that events that affected his father had the same effect on his mother. Her green eyes, which usually sparkled with laughter, held traces of tears. A frown replaced her usual bright smile as she watched her husband and two oldest sons prepare to leave. Gavin was startled to see the grey streaks running through her brown hair. He hadn’t noticed that she was getting older.
“You’ll be twelve in a few days. Then you’ll be made Robert’s squire. It’s tradition, and your father is firm on tradition. You must wait until then.” She put her arm around Gavin and squeezed his shoulders.
Gavin nodded. Together they watched through the dust as the troop of knights, with the king at their head, rode through the gate, out across the moat, and into the forest.
As much as he longed to be with them, he couldn’t forget his fears.
Praise for the Book
"Young Knights of the Round Table is a short, fast-paced adventure set in Arthurian times which features great character development, an intriguing and engaging plot, and a surprise ending (in more ways than one!). I would highly recommend this book to tween and teen boys and girls who love mysteries or stories set in the time of King Arthur." ~ Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews
"I so enjoyed the factual information about weapons, clothing, daily life, and places, cleverly interspersed in the text and dialogue to inform without overwhelming young readers. The author has a gift for delving into the depths of each young hero’s psyche. The way each one of the trio faces their fears, learns to believe in themselves, and finds their true meaning and path in life is moving. This is a superb coming-of-age story, set in a time of chivalry and pageantry, and harking back to an age when a hero was truly a hero. Five stars!" ~ Fiona Ingram, Author
"There is much to rave about this book, and I don’t want to give anything away because it’s a quick paced, thrilling, new classic about the knights. Witches, white stags, and a Wild Man make the plot exciting, along with cheering along the young knights. There are quite a few surprises at the end that really make the book a great read. We highly recommend this book for any young reader; sure, boys might convinced by the action and title, but I’m positive all young readers will enjoy the mystery and chivalry of Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom!" ~ Tales of a Bookworm
"I absolutely loved this book… [T]his book has just enough Arthurian legend to tie it to and draw from that period of history while being jam-packed with fantastic new characters and fresh plot twists. I am rarely surprised by things in books, but this book really surprised me with a few events I totally did not see coming! I highly recommend this book for young readers! It would be an excellent tie-in to a unit study about King Arthur." ~ Mommynificent
"This is a fast-paced story that children and adults will both enjoy! It’s well-written and exciting as we read about the fears each boy faces and how they are able to triumph. It’s a great story about loyalty, friendship and overcoming obstacles. Because of the length, it doesn’t drag or slow down at all, so it’s fun to read and hard to put down. And the ending is full of surprises! I highly recommend reading this book!" ~ Mel’s Shelves
From the Author
I love the Ancient and Medieval Worlds! As a retired English teacher, I hope to inspire young readers to read more and to reach reluctant readers with my Arthurian Tales and soon a series of stories from ancient lands and legends that will take readers on adventurous quests throughout history.
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