The Lost Kingdom is written by Matthew J. Kirby. It was published in 2013 by Scholastic.
“At last Billy Bartram has received the invitation he’s waited for all his life: His father has asked Billy to join him on one of his expeditions into the vast American wilderness. Traveling in a massive flying aeroship, Billy and a secret society of philosophers and scientists venture west in search of the lost kingdom of the Welsh prince Madoc, to seek aid in the coming war with the French. But the wilds of colonial America hide a host of secret dangers—from a terrifying bear-wolf that haunts their every move, to a part of French soldiers hot on their trial, to a spy and traitor in their midst.
Billy will face hazards greater than he has ever imagined as, together with his father, he gets caught up in the fight for the biggest prize of all: America.”
I don’t know if it was the summary or the expectation of steampunk, but I was expecting a story more along the lines of Leviathan or even Thirteenth Child than what it actually was. The Lost Kingdom was more concerned with historical tensions of the time and of Billy’s “coming of age” then anything else, which is fine, just not what I expected. The ship was very cool, and the inclusion of historical characters (historical characters as main characters, even) was a great addition to the ambience. I liked Billy’s struggle with understanding his father and getting past the fact that they thought different things.
That being said, since it was so historically based, the end of the book felt really strange and disconnected. Up to the last few chapters, The Lost Kingdom was historical fiction with steampunk influences. Then, all of a sudden, it turned into straight-up fantasy. To me, that made it feel really out of place and made the whole book seem disjointed.
I would recommend this book to those who want books with male protagonists, but it wasn’t interesting enough beyond that to make me immediately go, “Wow! This is a book people need to read!” The tension between father and son was well done and suspenseful, but beyond that, it wasn’t anything special.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Warnings: Some small amounts of violence/fighting.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Steampunk, Fantasy, Middle Grade
“The de Terzi is a vessel of philosophy,” my father said. “It is not a ship of war. We have no weapons on board.”
Washington turned to my father. “And what would you do with it, then?”
“We are searching for allies,” Mr. Colden said.
“What allies?” Washington asked. “Indians?”
“No,” Mr. Colden said. “The Welsh.”
Washington cocked his head for a moment. “Madoc?”
Mr. Colden nodded.
The Lost Kingdom had some cool steampunk features, as well as a fantasy twist at the end that unfortunately made the story as a whole a little disjointed. The tension between Billy and his father was well done, but as a whole The Lost Kingdom was nothing spectacular.
You can buy this here:
Coming Up Next: The Lost Kingdom