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Sebastian Darke
Prince of Fools

Philip Caveney

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Bodley Head Children's Books

Published : 2007

Copyright : Philip Caveney 2007

ISBN-10 : HB 0-370-32915-5
ISBN-13 : HB 978-0-370-32915-4

Publisher's Write-Up

Sebastian Darke has the world on his narrow shoulders. The son of a human father and an elvish mother, he is desperately trying to become the family breadwinner and has taken on his late father's job - celebrated jester, Prince of Fools. Trouble is, Sebastian can't tell a joke to save his life.

Dressed in his father's clothes and accompanied by his talking (and endlessly complaining) buffalo, Max, he sets off for the fabled city of Keladon, where he hopes to be appointed court jester to King Septimus. On the way he encounters a tiny but powerful warrior called Cornelius; the beautiful Princess Kerin; blood-thirsty Brigands and enough perils to make him wonder why he ever decided to leave home.

A hilarious and swashbuckling adventure!

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Chrissi (040307) Rating (8/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 8/10
This story is a bit of a departure for Philip Caveney, better known for his horror novels and in particular the gruesome, but exceedingly good, Skin Flicks. This is a swashbuckling adventure aimed at the teenage reader with a humorous slant that will be enjoyed by the target audience and those slightly older.

Sebastian’s father had been a very successful fool until he passed away, leaving his wife and seventeen year old son rather hard up. When Sebastian hears that the Royal Court of Keladon has no court jester, he sets out to try to become a successful Fool, hoping to support his mother. Unfortunately he is not very funny, and although his father could make anyone laugh, Sebastian is more likely to have to explain his jokes to his audience. Not an ideal talent for a hopeful Jester.

Sebastian’s shortcomings in the joke department are a fond subject for his companion, the buffalope Max. Max is an intelligent talking creature who generally pulls the wagon and moans about almost everything. Most of the funny quips in the story are droll one liners by Max, and he is a reason why younger readers will like the book, while his sarcasm will appeal to older readers.

Upon his journey, Sebastian meets Cornelius, and they travel to Keladon together, where Cornelius hopes to become a member of the elite royal guard, the Crimson Cloak. He had been an exceptional warrior until he was dismissed from the army for not being tall enough, and so he travels in the belief that there is no height requirement for a Crimson Cloak.

As the companions travel, they come upon an ambush where soldiers are dying trying to protect a caravan. They rush to the aid of the soldiers, and having dismissed their foe, they find a rather important personage in the caravan, and whose fate becomes tied with their own.

Philip Caveney writes well for younger readers, and I do think that this will be a successful series (I understand that the next instalment is to be Sebastian Darke Prince of Pirates). The story is that of the friends, whose shortcomings are made up for by their companions, and whose successes and failures are shared equally.

This is what makes them such a lovely group… the young Sebastian, not very good at telling jokes but trying very hard, the exiled Cornelius, and the garrulous grumbling Max. I think that this trio will be warmly welcomed and enjoyed by many younger readers.
Chrissi (4th March 2007)

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