Children of the Knight by Michael J. Bowler

KNIGHT
Children of the Knight by Michael J. Bowler
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Full Length (344 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

According to legend, King Arthur is supposed to return when Britain needs him most. So why does a man claiming to be the once and future king suddenly appear in Los Angeles?

This charismatic young Arthur creates a new Camelot within the City of Angels to lead a crusade of unwanted kids against an adult society that discards and ignores them. Under his banner of equality, every needy child is welcome, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or gang affiliation.

With the help of his amazing First Knight, homeless fourteen-year-old Lance, Arthur transforms this ragtag band of rejected children and teens into a well-trained army—the Children of the Knight. Through his intervention, they win the hearts and minds of the populace at large, and gain a truer understanding of themselves and their worth to society. But seeking more rights for kids pits Arthur and the children squarely against the rich, the influential, and the self-satisfied politicians who want nothing more than to maintain the status quo.

Can right truly overcome might? Arthur’s hopeful young knights are about to find out, and the City of Angels will never be the same.

King Arthur, the once and future king, returns to this world to establish a new Camelot, this time within the City of the Angels. His knights are unwanted children and teens whom society has thrown away. Arthur rescues them from the streets, welcoming all, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or gang affiliation, to join him under his banner of equality. He leads this band of unwanted children on a crusade to save their city from the adults who would use them, ignore them, and mistreat them, as they work to maintain the status quo.

Michael Bowler has written a very powerful novel which strikes at the heart of the problems faced by society not only in Los Angeles, but all around the country. Those without power are nearly always trampled and children have less power than any. As Arthur says, “According to the laws of adults, art not children considered to be as adults when they do something wrong, but not when they do something right?”

Bowler portrays King Arthur with genuine humanity. It is fun to watch as the children, especially Lance, educate him about all the changes which have taken place since his first life. And the Children of the Knight are a mixed group with different ages, races, social background, sexual orientation, and gang experiences. But what they have in common is much more important than any differences. Arthur is able to teach them the code of chivalry and instill in them a sense of hope that they can make a difference in their world. I really enjoyed seeing how these abandoned children grow and how they are able to find their own strengths and sense of self-worth.

Personally, as an educator, I was most struck by the way in which Arthur is able to teach and how eager the children are to learn from him, children for whom the educational system has failed and failed miserably. As Jenny, a teacher, tells Arthur, “That’s what’s wrong with our school system, with our one-size-fits-all, group mentality, in this country. Their individual needs have to be met. That’s what they’ve been missing, especially a kid like Lance, who never had anyone before you.”

I have rated this book as 14+ because of the descriptions of what some of the children have to endure to survive on the street. Bowler is very honest in his portrayal of these children, and his portrayals are intense and heart-rending.

This story takes its readers on a fantastic voyage of learning and hope. If adults could read this and take it to heart, we would have a very different world. And for those young adults who read this wonderful fantasy, Bowler would, I think, have you know that you too can be a Child of the Knight wherever you are. Each of us can make a difference and together our combined strength will right the wrongs.

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