Ross Rosenfeld’s debut novel “The Stolen Kingdom” offers an action adventure plot that anyone can understand and get into very quickly.
The story starts out in the Kingdom of Blesden, located in Europe during the Middle Ages. Following the death of the King and the Queen, the Dark Duke orders the new born king to be put to death so he can ascend the throne. The old king’s aid saves the child by hiding the infant away before the Dark Duke’s men kill him. A drunken “commoner,” Tibbie, stumbles across the child and quickly takes him back to his house to his wife before the guard’s find that he has the child. Tibbie and his wife decide to flee the country to a neighboring nation and raise the child as their own.
The newborn king, Taylor James, grows into a man and falls in love with his neighbor Rosemarie. The story follows Taylor as he and his best friend, Robert of Roth, try to save their homeland from the Dark Duke’s campaign to take over the entire continent of Europe. Throughout their travels they encounter the Mad Mob, the Dark Duke’s tax collectors. They also run across various wild beasts, and the world’s “ugliest army.”
The novel is an easy read, artistic piece of literature that anyone, fantasy fan or not, can get into. Following all the main characters from a very young age helps everyone identify with them, seeing them go through relatable challenges. The characters take shape right away with the great characteristics the author gave them.
Rossenfeld’s writing style is not difficult to read and makes for a quick reading pace. The book does not read like a novel, it reads more like a movie during the fast paced action scenes, which gives the reader the sense that they are actually experiencing it first hand.
One complaint about the book that seems to be pretty common is that the novel is too short and does not delve into the details that hardcore fantasy fans love so much about the genre. Rossenfeld’s descriptiveness falls short at points, but is comparable with George Lucas and J.R.R. Tolkien in creating new characters and lands that will intrigue even the most dedicated fantasy fan.
At times it tends to lack conflict when characters get almost everything handed to them when they ask. This moves the story very quickly, but it seems that they have not worked hard for anything they have accomplished.
Rossenfeld provides an excellent story with a wide range of characters. With more detail and development of conflict this young author has the potential for an even better sophomore effort.