Monday, July 28, 2014

THE BADGER KNIGHT by Kathryn Erskine

I can't say that I'm particularly interested in Medieval history but I love an author who has done enough research to make me feel as though I'm living in that time and going on adventures with a character I care about. In this case the author is Kathy Erskine and the character is Adrian Black. 

"I'm almost thirteen...and still as puny, sickly and as pale as milk.  A few people say being tiny and white as an angel is a good omen, but far more say I'm evil,that I was the cause of that plague and that they see the devil in my eyes. If they do, I didn't put him there. I'm no devil.  Nor am I a tiny angel. Underneath my odd looking outside, I'm just me, Adrian. A boy - well almost a man. They'll see.

Adrian doesn't get much respect in his English village. He's motherless. He's bullied, but feisty and he's excellent with a bow and arrow. The Scots are about to invade England and the men of the village are preparing to go to battle. No one thinks Adrian is capable of fighting so he will be left behind.

Or not. 

After the men leave, Adrian waits for his opportunity and sneaks away from the village to join the battle. Thus begins an adventure in which he runs into one bad character and one mishap after another. But Adrian is as clever as he is feisty and his quick mind, his lying tongue, and masterful archery skills rescue him from countless events.

He does eventually arrive at the battlefield where his romanticized notions of war are quickly dashed as are his notions about the enemy. Here are a few of Adrian's conclusions.
  • "It's hard to hate a man who has a name and a son."
  • "I don't even know who won the battle, although I think it's us. Still, I wonder how anyone can rejoice when so many have died."
  • I'm the Badger, tough and scrappy. I'm the Spider, small but determined.  Mostly I'm someone useful from the village of Ashcroft. My name is Adrian Black, and I am a man.

  • The book ends with Adrian planning to take care of some unfinished business so I'm guessing there's a sequel on the way. Readers who love action, adventure and a scrappy character will be glad of it.

    Kathy Erskine is the author of Quaking, Mockingbird, The Absolute Value of Mike, and Seeing Red.


    1. I absolutely love books set in Medieval times and I loved Seeing Red, so I know I am going to have to get this book. It sounds fascinating. Thanks for telling me about it.

      1. Rosi, you are going to love this then. Maybe Kathy can have Scholastic send you an ARC. You'd be a great blogger to help spread the word.

    2. Joyce,
      I loved the MC's voice. Is the quote that describes Adrian the opening lines of the book? Thanks for sharing about this one.

      1. The quote is on the first page, Linda. I do often like to quote first lines though but in this case I wanted Adrian to introduce himself so I found that section and went for it. Yes, Adrian has a great voice. He's funny too, which I don't believe I mentioned. He swears a lot which is to say he uses phrases like St. Jerome's Bones!

    3. Great review, Joyce. Kathy is such a marvelous author!

    4. I have enjoyed KE's books tremendously. So thank you for this review.