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Defender of the Realm: 1

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Albeit, some of the historical claims are a little dubious (particularly in relation to Alfie's ancestry) but in the wake of such a good story, I can gloss over that one niggle. But when a band of undead Vikings appears, Alfie, Hayley and the rest of the Yeoman Warders fear that Professor Lock is back to finish what he’s started. Gerry McGovern and his team have developed an incredible design and it really does have everything you’d want.

He DEFINITELY did not expect to be DEFENDER OF THE REALM, a legendary superhero, fighting a secret, centuries-long battle to protect the nation from monsters and super-villains. And for those of you who’ve read the first book, you’ll know that in Defender of the Realm: Dark Age, there’s going to be something else that will test Alfie’s resilience to the limit. The characters are wonderfully drawn, from the awkward and loveable Prince Alfie to his brave and intelligent friend Hayley whose efforts are instrumental in helping Alfie defend his country and her adorable Gran, who I had a real soft spot for.But, after his father is announced dead by a “heart attack,” Alfie becomes the new king, and also gains the ancient power of “Defender of the Realm. The writing too is accessible without being too simplistic; this is a well-written book which any age will enjoy.

Whenever I see a Landy, wherever I am in the world, I love to take a photograph and post it to my social media as it always makes me smile. For children, this story is fast, exciting and funny and for adults it is full of entertaining content. Some chapters are from Alfie’s perspective, others from Hayley’s, and that really balances things out. Hayley is a strong character who helps cement the story in contemporary times, bringing her technological know-how to improve the armoury of the Defender of the Realm. The greatest battle Alfie can see ahead of him is to win the hearts and minds of his unconvinced subjects.However, this is all set to change when a rampaging hoard of undead Viking berserkers appear, causing havoc across the kingdom. It's a story deeply rooted in Britain, exploring famous landmarks and the succession of the monarchy since the dark ages, starting with Alfie's namesake Alfred the Great. This is a fun fantasy story but it raises some interesting questions about the British Monarchy's relevance to Britain and the somewhat antagonistic relationship they have with their subjects in the 21st Century. Looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy- impossible not to, given the massive cliffhanger !

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Defender Of The Realm, but as soon as it came through the post I skim read the first few pages fully intrigued and I was immediately drawn into a world that mixed the real world and fantasy world flawlessly and all with some historical facts, humour and well known United Kingdom landmarks too!

While I occasionally find the swap from one person's point of view to another mid-chapter jarring, it served its purpose here better than I have seen previously. Join our community to get personalised book suggestions, extracts straight to your inbox, 10% off RRPs, and to change children’s lives.

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