Age-old dilemmas of people’s rights during wartime is explored through The King’s Nightingale. The reader encounters markets, trade, slavery, greed and misery. Jordan introduces two contrasting societies: village rural life versus royal life in a palace. The main characters are defined by ethics or fine living - what does a sophisticated society really look like?
Injustice, hope and a hint of the historical fantasy provide an appealing mix sure to entice and encourage readers to find out what happens to Elowen the Nightingale singer. Treachery abounds and underscores Elowen’s privilege as we see here:
“You can’t do this! she screamed. “I want to speak with Afolabi! Get Afolabi! I am the King’s Nightingale! You can’t -” The cane cut down across her back... While the language appears deceptively simple and accessible, the ideas are weighty offering much to ponder.
To locate the story in the reader's mind, Jordan provides a hand drawn map of the Penhallow Isles including a distance calculator and inset of the palace. The reader can follow the slave trader’s journeys, Elowen’s journey, and find her home. The map and a glossary of Rabakeshi words expand the story and increase the book's appeal.
It’s always a pleasure to read Jordan’s stories and The King’s Nightingale is a nice addition to another of Jordan’s popular books, The Raging Quiet.
Title: The King’s Nightingale
Author: Sherryl Jordan
Publication: February 2021
Reviewer: Michele Ayres, Librarian, Motueka High School, Tasman
How are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
What’s the book’s opening sentence? In utter darkness the captive crouched, arms around her knees, head bent.
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