Author: Suse Coon

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Monday, July 8th, 2013 at 4:40 pm
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Book Reviews

Jack Shian and the King’s Chalice

Think Harry Potter and think Anne Forbes’ MacArthurs who live under Arthur’s Seat and you have a fair idea of the theme of Andrew Symon’s debut fiction book for young adults.

12 year old Jack’s family are Shian, ‘otherworld’ creatures who have crept in and out of human affairs throughout history. The Shian people have treasures which give them special powers – though they aren’t quite wizards. One of these treasures is the Stone of Destiny whose homecoming has energised the Shian folk, giving renewed strength to their ancient powers and gifts but causing different factions to quarrel as they did centuries ago. Here perhaps, we see the author using his Social Policy and Law degree to have fun with  dissenting communities!

As for Jack, his parents are missing so he lives with his uncle’s family. When he comes of age, rather than go to boarding school, Jack is apprenticed to a tailor and the whole family moves to the Shian world under Edinburgh Castle. (Anne Forbes’ little people lived under Arthur’s Seat so we are moving up in the world!) Jack’s Grandpa and Uncle Doonya work for the Shian Congress, which places Jack nicely at the heart of things and fortunately he has some equally adventurous cousins and friends who guide him (or lead him astray!) through his early days in Edinburgh.

As the power of the Stone of Destiny grows, the King’s Chalice is another treasure to be found but in the search for it, Jack discovers that his father’s disappearance is somehow linked to its loss. So begins the first of the Shian Quest trilogy with our hero trying to save the world and find out what happened to his father.

Local children will love the idea of ‘goings on’ in familiar places but if you can keep track of all the mythological creatures who appear in this book, you’ll find it well-paced and intriguing no matter what your knowledge of Edinburgh.

Jack Shian and the King’s Chalice (Shian Quest Trilogy) (The Shian Quest Trilogy) is available in ‘real’ book and e book from Amazon.

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