BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tribute Books Blog Tour Review of The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality by Gahan Hanmer

Publisher: TwoHarbors
Release Date: April 2, 2012
Buying Links: Barnes & Noble     My Book Orders      Amazon

Book Blurb (from goodreads):

Sometimes it's funny how fast things can change, and sometimes it's not... 

Welcome to Albert Keane's beautifully designed medieval kingdom nestled in a completely isolated river valley in the Canadian wilderness. Peaceful, happy, and prosperous, it takes nothing from the modern world, not so much as a single clock.

There is a castle, of course, and a monastery. There is even a pitch dark, rat-infested dungeon - because you simply have to have one if you are trying to rule a feudal kingdom!

Farmers work the land, artisans ply their trades, monks keep school and visit the sick, and nobody (well, almost nobody) misses the modern world at all.

So why has Jack Darcey - actor, wanderer, ex-competitive fencer - been tricked and seduced into paying a visit? And why hasn't anyone told him that the only way to leave is a perilous trek across hundreds of miles of trackless wilderness without a compass or a map?

Because a tide of fear and violence is rising from the twisted ambitions of one of King Albert's nobles, and Albert's fortune teller believes that Jack could turn the tide - if he lives long enough.

She let me go then; and if you don't think I felt totally crazy, you have to remember that I was dressed fro head to foot as a medieval warrior, and with what I had on my horse thrown in, I was carrying about two hundred pounds of armor and weapons and standing in the middle of some impossible kingdom on the farthest edge of reality. I wasn't in any state to make a rational decision about anything, but in my gut I knew that going back to Marysville wasn't an option, whether or not that could be accomplished anyway. The life I had left behind didn't seem attractive or even real anymore. It was more like a half-remembered dream. The only solid ground I had in the world was right under my feet, I couldn't say that I was actually in love with Albert's kingdom, but I was certainly intrigued and amazed by what I had already seen, and I had been anxious to begin my quest because I wanted to see more. So I knew in my gut that my course was set, dangerous as it obviously now appeared to be.
Reviewed By: Bea

My Thoughts:

At times this book, it reminded me of "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" - the modern man (modern for when the book was published) who finds himself in a medieval kingdom and has to adapt, that same character becoming enmeshed in political intrigues, and the choices that a moral adult has to make. Of course, in ACYIKAC, the main character travels back in time whereas in The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality takes place in one time period but two very different cultures.

Jack Darcey is down on his luck, not sure where his life is going or what he is doing, when an employee of an old prep school friend shows up and drags him to his friend, Albert Keane's, house. Albert spins him a story of his new kingdom up in Canada and sells Jack on joining him there. Of course, the situation isn't quite what Albert, King Albert actually, presented it, but Jack, now Sir Jack, a knight of the realm, finds that he likes life in King Albert's Kingdom - it reminds him in some ways of camping but minus any of the modern accouterments. It's a simpler way of life and one that lets him, in his role of knight, to indulge his protective streak and play hero. But soon, it's not just playing; life in the kingdom has it's violent side and people, regardless of lifestyle, are still capable of greed, jealousy, cruelty and violence. As Jack is still learning how things work in the kingdom, he becomes embroiled in politics and what seemed an idyllic paradise turns into a nightmare.

Hanmer presents a clear look at ideals, dreams and reality and how the choices we make define us. At times, the characters are a little too good to be real and the commoners seem a little too happy with their, admittedly chosen, rural lifestyle. But overall, Hanmer writes real, believable, engaging characters and I was drawn into the story fairly quickly. Events played out realistically in my opinion and his depiction of prison life in the dungeon and the lasting effects it has on a person were chilling while not graphic.

"The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality" is an engrossing, quick read that blends politics, action, romance, a hint of religion, with some psychological insight into modern life. It's a serious book but not heavy, an enjoyable afternoon's read.

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I received a print ARC for review as part of a blog tour.


  1. Great review Bea. I will be reviewing this later this month.

  2. Thanks Kimba. I hope you like it.

  3. Bea, thanks for the review. I love your comparison to "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court."

    Kimba, looking forward to your review as well :)

  4. It's been years since I read A Connecticut Yankee, but this book definitely reminded me of it, or what I could remember of it. I may have to find my copy and re-read it.


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