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.