Being a teenager can be tough, but when you're heir to the throne and have a twin who seems like the 'perfect' one, things can seem impossible! Whenever he makes a mistake, the press seem to be there to share it with the nation, making Alfie glad he won't be King for a long time.
However, events take a startling turn and Alfie finds himself not only King, but Defender of the Realm, a legendary superhero, who has been fighting any evil that threatens the nation for centuries.
Hayley Hicks has her own worries- mainly about her grandmother's declining health. When an encounter with the mysterious Black Dragon at the Tower of London brings her right into the Defender's world, her life will never be the same again!
This is an amazing romp of an adventure that gallops along at a satisfying pace. Set in the fictitious reign of King Henry IX, the story blends fiction and fact perfectly, using well-known places and events as a backdrop to the fantastical.
From the first page, Alfie is an engaging character- vulnerable and full of self doubt. The weight of his responsibilities lie heavy on his shoulders, making him constantly feel wanting, particularly when compared to his twin. From a completely different background, Hayley also has responsibilities beyond her years- caring for her much-loved gran. Tougher than Alfie, she is an equally likeable, believable character who is not constrained by the traditions Alfie has grown up with. All the other characters- including the baddies-are also well developed; I love Hayley's gran!
A great read aloud to engage and entertain a class, 'Defender of the Realm' has a sequel- 'Dark Age' - ready to keep them reading after. I can't wait to read it myself! Essential for book corners and libraries, 'Defender of the Realm' is a fast-paced, action-packed adventure for all to enjoy!
Defender of the Realm by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler
Scholastic ISBN: 978-1407164236