The Empty Kingdom (Mark of Solomon 2)

“Telemakos has endured trials that would have broken men and women twice his age, and yet he emerges ever more worthy of the faith his royal family has placed in him. Caught spying on his protector in The Lion Hunter, he now lives under the threat of imminent execution should he give Abreha reason to suspect his loyalty. Nonetheless, he strives to send coded messages of Abreha’s plans against the Emperor of his home kingdom in letters to his family. The problem is that his loyalties are conflicted. Clearly, Abreha has broken the Emperor’s quarantine in the past and is now plotting to attack his fleet, but he has also shown great favor to Telemakos, despite the fact that Abreha keeps the boy under guard and holds his life in his hands. Indeed, while he treats him harshly, he also honors him as he would his own son. Wein pursues an ingenious plotline in this conclusion to the Mark of Solomon duology: as she has done throughout the tales of Telemakos, she maintains a breathless suspense while developing a character of true weight and greatness. On the one hand, Telemakos is an aspiring adolescent, eager to please the powerful adults in his life and prove himself worthy of their love; on the other, he is a vulnerable victim of past abuse, haunted by dreams and in need of the adoration and loyalty of his baby sister to soothe his pain and anchor him. Mostly, though, he is a future king in the tradition of T.H. White’s fully human Arthur, a person of great strength, wisdom, and daring who is nonetheless flawed, perhaps fatally, by an inability to discern who to trust. Surely readers haven’t heard the last of this worthy yet accessible hero.”
—Karen Coats, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


  • Nominated for the 2008 Cybils Award

(Click here to purchase The Empty Kingdom as an e-book from Open Road Media)