pub date: May 19, 2011
publisher: LoudCloud Publishing
appeals: Gypsies, magic, historical fiction, mystery, adventure
This was a fun book. It has a lot of mystery, history, some Gypsy magic, and a little bit of romance. I thought it was very well written and had great descriptions. The writing flowed well. As someone who knows nothing about the game (all I know comes from the musical Chess), I loved the roll chess played in this novel and how it became so important to the developing plot.
In the beginning I did have a hard time getting into the story. There was a lot of jumping around in time between 1960 and 1065, and then a lot of flashbacks to other times. It made the story somewhat choppy and confusing. But once I got past that aspect of the novel, I finished the book rather quickly and really enjoyed it.
Also, I thought the clues that Durriken received from his mother seemed rather contrived, but it set Durriken and Dilia on a fun adventure, so I guess it's all good.
Fourteen-year-old Durriken Brishen has lost his parents, his grandfather, and though he doesn't know it, his Gypsy culture's dangerous gift.
Taken in and raised on the rails by the first woman to pilot a freight train, Durriken has one remaining connection to his Romani roots: a small wooden box that hangs from the hammer loop of his overalls.
The last gift he received from his grandfather, the box contains the world's first chess set. But a piece is missing: the Red Queen. According to Durriken’s family lore, the complete set awakens the power of Tărie, a mercurial gift that confers unique abilities on each new Master.
When a suspicious fire erupts in the Chicago rail yard, Durriken's escape produces an uneasy alliance, though not without its silver lining. Dilia is a few inches taller, several degrees cleverer, and oh yes – very pretty. While Durriken is uneasy allying with a girl whose parents were convicted of sedition, there's no doubt she is a powerful partner. And while it's not immediately clear to either, her own Guatemalan culture and family history are deeply entwined with the ancient Romani mystery.
Jumping box cars, escaping riverboats, deciphering clues, crossing swords with the brilliant madman Radu Pinch – with great American cities as its backdrop – Gypsy Knights is the page-turning saga of Durriken Brishen and his quest to rediscover his past.