Nesbit, an outspoken mouse, is banished to the Forest of Lost Life because he says that the König, king of Kingdom of the Double-headed Eagle, is stupid for demanding more Essen (food) from the famished colonies. Concurrently, Nesbit’s brother Sommer is chosen to guard the König’s food stash from the powerful hundred-thousand-strong Forest Army. In a whirlwind of fast-paced events, Nesbit’s and Sommer’s lives split into different directions before coming full circle. Press’s debut novel is filled with action-packed adventure and fantasy amid animal and human wars.
Speaking of the inspiration to his debut novel—the inimitable Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria, rising author Lowell H. Press states, “it has been said that there was a time when an elaborate kingdom of mice thrived, both inside the palace and beyond, in the magnificent formal garden.” Using the palace and garden as its backdrop, Press’s third-person narrative is replete with characters that are of mice and men and some cats, too. A mix of personification and the nature of murines and felines, Press creates parallel worlds—one set within the other. Press’s featured protagonists live in an environs that in many ways reflects the human realm that includes famine, slavery, hierarchy, and war, to name a few.
Much of Press’s plot leans toward animal-to-animal interactions. While there are scenes when the two kingdoms overlap, the real crossroad takes place when the little Duke and Nesbit meet. Press makes reference to the Duke as none other than the Duke of Reichstadt, the son of Napoleon Bonaparte. Nonetheless, Press’s inclusion of this short-lived historical person is precious since he took to gardening as a young man.
Unique in every way imaginable, THE KINGDOM OF THE SUN AND THE MOON is bound to be a hit for young readers who love a mix of reality and fantasy.