Britfield and the Lost Crown
At the beginning of C. R. Stewart’s marvelous Britfield and the Lost Crown, 12-year-old Tom and his best friend Sarah are wards at the Weatherly Orphanage, where children are forced to work endless hours without reward and brutally punished for the slightest infraction. When Tom learns that his parents, whom he thought were dead, might still be alive, he and Sarah make a daring escape from the orphanage, embarking on a dramatic adventure and becoming the key players in an intrigue involving the British Prime Minister, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and a high-ranking official of the royal court. Always just a step ahead of their pursuers, the two friends wind their way through the hallowed halls of Oxford University, hide among the hidden corridors of Windsor Castle, brave the darkness of the underground catacombs of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and escape by hot-air balloon across the English countryside. From start to finish, Stewart’s novel is packed full of colorful – and often colorfully named – characters: the Grievouses, the greedy, sadistic proprietors of Weatherly Orphanage; brilliant, indefatigable Inspector Gowerstone; kindly, heroic Dr. Randolf Churchhill Hainsworth III; diminutive, bespectacled conspiracy theorist, Dr. Beagleswick; and the Queen’s bloodthirsty Superintendent, Philip, and his evil henchman, Caldwell. Along with its relentless action and suspense, Stewart’s novel provides young readers with a wealth of information about British culture (with frequent references to literary classics) and the history of the Monarchy and the Anglican Church. Highly recommended, Britfield and the Lost Crown will appeal to both young readers and their parents.
David Shirley ©2019 Parents’ Choice
David Shirley’s recent nonfiction titles include A History of Brooklyn Bridge Park and Fix It Leroy! His YA biographies, Every Day I Sing the Blues: The Story of B. B. King and Satchel Paige: Baseball Legend were honored as the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens.