Horace, George and Ingle are three brothers poised on the edge of adulthood. They are also princes, heirs to a land that is presently at peace thanks to the skillful leadership of their father King Reynold. When a storm causes some unusual damage, the brothers – along with another young prince named Roland – must investigate this potential threat to the kingdom.
Although it wears the trappings of fantasy (dragons and all), THE ADVENTURES OF HORACE, GEORGE AND INGLE: THE RISE OF THE BLACK KNIGHT is at its heart a mystery story. The young protagonists interview witnesses and pursue clues, and the progression of the mystery is well paced and sufficiently complex without being overly complicated. This book is well suited to older children, who can enjoy grappling with words such as “proxy” and “oxidation” and will more readily identify with the protagonists’ journey away from parental protection and towards adulthood.
Unfortunately, there are some parts of this fictional world that feel incomplete or illogical. For example, even though they live in a large castle in which (one would suppose) there are a number of servants, the princes are somehow able to sneak out of the castle with horses and supplies without a single servant seeing them or noticing their absence and reporting it to their father. Also the geographical relationship between the novel’s settings is somewhat unclear; a map would be a welcome addition (perhaps it could replace the illustrations, which do very little to enhance the reader’s visualization of the story).
Finally, it’s worth noting that this is the first novel in a series; certain aspects of the plot are resolved, but the ending leaves our young heroes facing more challenges than ever.
THE ADVENTURES OF HORACE, GEORGE AND INGLE: THE RISE OF THE BLACK KNIGHT is a combination of detective fiction and fantasy that older children with a taste for adventure will certainly enjoy.