This second book in The Kingfountain series continues the story of Owen Kiskaddon and Elysabeth Victoria Mortimer which begin in The Queen’s Poisoner. Owen is now is in teens and a seasoned battle commander in the service of Severn, King of Ceredigion, aka an alternate Richard III. Ceredigion and its king face many threats from its enemies, Scotland and France primarily, in other guise. It is up to Owen and others loyal to the king to take care of these before they can harm the king. The head of the Espion, Severn’s spy network, grooms a new poisoner to take the place of the last one. Owen is not quite sure he can trust her, but he recognizes she is Fountain-blessed and proves a strong ally.
Severn sends Owen, Elysabeth, and the poisoner to this alternate Scotland to defuse the threat of a pretender to the throne. Known in our history as Perkin Warbeck, this young man claims to be the true son of Severn’s brother, the previous king. The fate of the Princes in the Tower, the two sons of Edward IV, whose deaths are attributed to Richard III, thanks to Shakespeare’s propaganda, is a true historical mystery which Wheeler uses to form part of his story. Owen believes the young man is truly Severn’s nephew, but merely a pawn in a larger game. As Severn uses the loyal Owen and Elysabeth for his own ends, the two who grew up together and now love each other must decide whether to follow their king or follow their hearts.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved being with Owen and the others dear to him. He and Elysabeth struggle mightily to remain true not only to their king but to each other, in a world where they are but his pawns. The author confesses he was in tears writing the last chapters. I will let you decide what this means for their fate. I look forward to reading more in the next book, The King’s Traitor. Who is this? I wonder if I already know. Wheeler is a kindred scribe for he feels as I and others do about sub-creation. He remarks in his Author’s Note: “It feels sometimes like I am bringing to life a story that has always existed. This was part of the story that needed to be told.”
Bravo, Jeff! More power to you, and may God continue to bless you, as you continue to dip your ladle into the rich Cauldron of Story.
Have you read this story? What did you think?