Dave Neuendorf. The Summoned King: Book One of the Kalymbrian Chronicles. 2016. See here to purchase the book.
The Summoned King is a Christian fantasy book.
High school student James Madison Young ends up in the fictional
country of Kalymbria after cramming in the library for a chemistry
exam. He was brought there by the wizard Maynard, and Jim is appointed
king. Kalymbria prefers to “avoid problems inherent in a hereditary
monarchy” and thus summons its kings from other planets, after a process
of observing them (page 8). Jim is given a wife, Julia, who is from
the peasant class, and Jim has to become accustomed to that, since he is
rather awkward around the opposite sex. Julia has the potential to
become powerful in the usage of magic, but she is gradually feeling her
wings, under Maynard’s tutelage.
Jim has to contend with a Council of Advisors, which expects him to
rubber-stamp its every decision and is the real power in Kalymbria. Jim
devises strategies to gain more power and to create a just system in
the country, against much opposition. Meanwhile, there is the looming
threat of war, and the witch Ruingia is making attacks.
If you like political science, then you will enjoy this book. The
book is detailed about the political, social, and religious system of
Kalymbria and surrounding countries. The book is also detailed about
aspects of technology. While that could be slow and tedious, in areas,
it did add greater believability to the story.
Politically, Jim is rather progressive in Kalymbria, since Jim
abolishes slavery, challenges human sacrifice, eliminates state support
for religion, and attempts to create a republic. The book seems to
reflect a rather conservative political stance, in terms of American
political ideology, since Jim supports the gold standard and institutes
the right to keep and bear arms.
There are action scenes in the book, and they enhance the story, but
the political, social, and religious aspects of the book’s world were
what especially intrigued me.
A question that occurred to me was why Maynard would choose a
teenager to be king, of all people. But it actually makes sense.
Maynard wanted to effect reforms in Kalymbria. Perhaps he felt that Jim
was impressionable and teachable enough to do what Maynard advised,
while having enough intelligence to be an effective ruler.
One of my favorite scenes is when the witch Ruingia sends Jim a
message, and the message was like Princess Leia’s message to Obi-Wan in Star Wars (a hologram, of sorts). Jim sees Ruingia, and she does not look like a hag at all, but rather like a grandmother.
This is the first book of a series, and I hope to read subsequent books.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review.