Title: The Warden War
Author: D.L. Morrese
Genre: Science Fiction/epic fantasy parody
The Warden War is the second book in a series about Prince Donald of Wesgrove, a naive young man with a desire to be a hero who steadily grows up as the two books progress. The first book, The Warden Threat, was a good story, but this is even better. The writing is stronger, the story tighter and its light-hearted approach does not detract from the drama. This is quite simply an excellent story that, although it doesn’t take itself too seriously, makes important observations on the nature of humanity and the dangers of trusting someone with the power to manipulate the information received by those in power.
From the Blurb:
Prince Donald’s father, King Leonard of Westgrove, has been told that the neighboring kingdom of Gotrox has discovered a magical means to animate a mysterious and gigantic ancient stone warrior, the Warden of Mystic Defiance, which it plans to use it to spearhead an invasion of his country. Donald is convinced this is a hoax carefully crafted by his father’s chief adviser to bring about a war to gain control of Gotroxian resources. Donald is determined to thwart him. It will not be easy. Chief Adviser Horace Barter has resources, connections, influence, and the almost unquestioned trust of the king. Donald, sadly, has none of these. What the young prince does have is a nominal position with the diplomatic team being sent to Gotrox and the companionship of a few rather unique friends including a pair of 15,000-year-old androids, one of which is a dog–or a reasonable facsimile thereof.
The addition of the androids—their true nature unknown to Donald and his friends—creates an unusual mix of ancient fantasy and science fiction, and provides ample opportunity for amusing banter when, unnoticed by the others, the androids speak ‘mentally’ to each other.
Morrese’s writing style is simple and effective, giving us clear descriptions without anything extraneous. The plot interesting, well paced and sometimes surprising. Although we don’t go as deeply into some of the supporting characters in this book, their characters have been well established previously. The focus in this book is more on the android Nash and Prince Donald himself. Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the book is how well Donald’s character is developed. He doesn’t just grow up; he earns his father’s respect step by step and by the end shows all the qualities of a selfless hero without a hint of artifice.
On the surface, this is just a light, entertaining read, but underneath is the solid ground of an insightful comment on the machinations of politics and human nature. I think it’s a particularly excellent read for teenage boys.