Denizen Hardiwick is a smallish thirteen year old lad in
Crosscaper Orphanage. He is not aware of having any
relatives, but a couple of strangers take an altogether
sinister interest in him. One day he is given a message to
pack a bag and be ready to be picked up by his aunt. So
begins KNIGHTS OF THE BORROWED DARK by Dave Rudden, which
admits to a formulaic hero at the outset. The location
however is Ireland; to be specific, the westernmost parish.
What could go wrong?
Denizen is collected by a driver and taken from Achill to
the outskirts of Dublin, but unexpectedly a tunnel
collapses, trapping them on the road, and a huge winged
beast stalks them. That's when the driver pulls out a
sword. Clearly all is not as it seems. Meanwhile back at
Crosscaper, Simon, best friend of Denizen, who enjoys
reading crime stories and misses his pal, sees the strange
couple collecting another boy at the gates. Having survived
the attack, Denizen is taken to the embassy of the tiny
land of Adumbral in the posh part of Dublin. Now he might
get some answers from the woman who is allegedly his aunt.
Be prepared for explanations that don't explain anything,
terms like Tenebra, Malleus and Obscura, the Higher Cant,
swords, creepy clockwork women eating lightbulbs, an uneasy
juxtaposition of the modern and the occult. The tale
reminds me a lot of STONE HEART by Charlie Fletcher, set in
London, except that Denizen has adults around, and
clarifications take longer. Naturally the battle Denizen
is now embroiled in has been ongoing for centuries, and he
is now considered old enough to learn to fight. If you
enjoy dark fantasy books on this theme, you'll want to get
hold of this thriller / fantasy / horror for Young Adults.
This imaginative fantasy about the monsters that lurk in
the dark will thrill fans of Ranger’s Apprentice and Rick
Denizen Hardwick is an orphan, and his life is, well,
normal. Sure, in storybooks orphans are rescued from
drudgery when they discover they are a wizard or a warrior
or a prophesied king. But this is real life—orphans are just
kids without parents. At least that’s what Denizen thought...
On a particularly dark night, the gates of Crosscaper
Orphanage open to a car that growls with power. The car and
the man in it retrieve Denizen with the promise of
introducing him to a long-lost aunt. But on the ride into
the city, they are attacked. Denizen learns that monsters
can grow out of the shadows. And there is an ancient order
of knights who keep them at bay. Denizen has a unique
connection to these knights, but everything they tell him
feels like a half-truth. If Denizen joins the order, is he
fulfilling his destiny or turning his back on everything his
family did to keep him alive?