BOOK BUZZ: Tome slayer battles books in literary tale

The Scroll of the King (The Lost Books) by Sarah Prineas, N.Y., Harper, $21.

Following in the footsteps of Rachel Caine (The Great Library series), Chris Grabenstein (Mr. Lemoncello trilogy) and Linda Bailey (The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek), Prineas’ library adventure tale has a pseudo-medieval setting.

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Her hero, Alex, has escaped from his very non-bookish family to join the profession of his dreams. As an apprentice librarian he soon discovers just how dangerous library work can be when he finds his master dead at his desk under a mysteriously marked book.

The book attacks him when he begins to read it and he just barely manages to slam it shut.

Books are dangerous in this story and Alex understands that a librarian’s job is to keep them safely locked up.

His subsequent attempt to take over the job of head librarian is a failure as his disparaging comments about the library’s holdings enrage his employer and he is summarily fired and heaved out the door.

Ever resourceful, he forges a letter and secures the job of head librarian at another library.

Queen Kenneret, his new employer, is equally unimpressed with Alex’s pushy ways but foists her annoying brother on him as an assistant and lets him get on with his attempts to locate more of the dangerous books.

Matters come to a head when he discovers how to enter the padlocked room that contains the really
bad books.

Events heat up even more when Alex’s large, tough and loving family arrive to take him home.

Lots of derring-do and verbal jousting as well as the real kind advance the action.

Fans of fantasy series will be pleased to know the story will continue. For readers ages 8-12.

Fran Ashdown is a retired children’s librarian. She is still extremely happy when she is inside libraries. For more information check your local libraries.

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