Thursday, January 9, 2014

Michael J. Bowler - Children of the Knight - Review and Giveaway

About the Book

According to legend, King Arthur is supposed to return when Britain needs him most. So why does a man claiming to be the once and future king suddenly appear in modern-day Los Angeles?

This charismatic young Arthur creates a new Camelot within the City of Angels to lead a crusade of unwanted kids against an adult society that discards and ignores them. Under his banner of equality, every needy child is welcome, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or gang affiliation.

With the help of his amazing First Knight, homeless fourteen-year-old Lance, Arthur transforms this ragtag band of rejected children and teens into a well-trained army—the Children of the Knight––where even gay boys and gangsters work side by side. Through his intervention, they win the hearts and minds of the populace at large, and gain a truer understanding of themselves and their worth to society. But seeking more rights for kids pits Arthur and his children squarely against the rich, the influential, and the self-satisfied politicians who want nothing more than to maintain the status quo.

Can right truly overcome might? Arthur’s hopeful young knights are about to find out, and the City of Angels will never be the same.

The Knight Cycle begins . . .

My Review

What's the highest compliment I can give a novel? That it's unlike anything I've read. And upon Michael J. Bowler's urban fantasy CHILDREN OF THE KNIGHT, I gladly bestow that distinction. He takes the framework of Camelot and morphs it into something wholly original and cutting edge. King Arthur is back with a vengeance, but his knights are the ones who end up stealing the show.

So often novels focus on one or two main characters, forsaking the rest as talking heads or blatant stereotypes. Not so here. Bowler takes great pains to humanize his supporting cast. They're not all good and they're not all bad. They come across as real because their individual personalities are so complex, like they're drawn from actual teens that Bowler has come in contact with. They use the language of the street. They bait each other mercilessly. But across the board, all they want is to be loved.

Arthur's knights are throwaway teens, the kids nobody wants. And that designation is most tellingly applied to the gay characters in the novel. It's rare to come across a story aimed at a male audience that has more than one LBGT storyline, and this book has several, giving a more complete picture of an oft-ignored demographic in young adult fiction.

Lance is the hero around which the action pivots. Nicknamed 'Pretty Boy' because of his effeminate looks, not many authors would have given such a character the heartthrob role. But Bowler takes a chance, breaking through the overdone Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot drama and fashioning something completely different by having such a key figure question his sexuality.

Bowler turns the idea of a love triangle on its head by introducing Mark and Jack as Lance's fellow knights. All three provide a unique perspective on what it's like to grow up gay in America. Lance isn't ready to embrace who he is, but Mark and Jack are willing to accept the consequences of who they are. When Arthur brings the three boys together, they spend a lot of time in each other's company and things inevitably get complicated. Signals get crossed. Feelings get hurt. And two of them meet a bitter end. No matter the era, love in Arthur's court is always a dangerous game.


Children of the Knight can be purchased at:

Prices/Formats: $6.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback
Pages: 344
ISBN: 9781623806552
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Release: June 20, 2013
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author of three novels - A Boy and His Dragon, A Matter of Time, and Children of the Knight - who grew up in San Rafael, California.

He majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University and earned a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and another master's in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills.

He partnered with two friends as producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films, including “Fatal Images,” “Club Dead,” and “Things II,” the reviews of which are much more fun than the actual movies.

He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from English and Strength Training to Algebra, Biology, and Yearbook.

He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to seven different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a thirty-year volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, something that is sorely lacking in this state. He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and 2000 National Big Brother of the Year. The “National” honor allowed he and three of his Little Brothers to visit the White House and meet the president in the Oval Office.

He has already completed the two continuations of Children of the Knight that complete the trilogy - Running Through A Dark Place & And The Children Shall Lead. Both will likely be released in 2014.

Links to connect with Michael:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

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