Review of The Empty Kingdom, by Elizabeth E. Wein


The Empty Kingdom

The Mark of Solomon, Book Two

by Elizabeth E. Wein

Viking, 2008.  215 pages.

The Empty Kingdom is a sequel to The Lion Hunter, which follows The Sunbird.  In The Empty Kingdom, Telemakos, grandson of Artos of Britain, begins to grow into his heritage.

He is still living in Himyar, still knowing the state secrets he discovered in the last book.  How can he warn the emperor of Aksum?  And if he is caught, what terrible things would happen to him?

The Empty Kingdom includes more intrigue, more danger, and more exploits by Telemakos’ feisty little sister Athena.

The books Elizabeth Wein writes began with The Winter Prince, a story of King Arthur’s sons.  The rest are set in old Ethiopia and south Arabia, where one of those sons, and his sister, ended up.

Telemakos, the hero of these last three books, has the light hair of his British father but the dark skin of his Aksumite mother.  He has an amazing talent for learning secrets, and seems to be drawn to a fateful destiny.

Elizabeth Wein’s characters have amazing depth.  At the end of the book, I caught myself wondering who was good and who was bad.  How like life that is.

I hope there will be more stories of Telemakos and his sister Athena, as well as the lands of Aksum, Himyar, and post-Arthurian Britain.

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