Book Review: Sir Dalton and the Shadow Heart

TitleSir Dalton and the Shadow Heart  (Book 3 in the Knights of Arrenthtrae)

Author: Chuck Black

Publisher’s Synopsis: Sir Dalton, a knight in training, seems to have everything going for him. Young, well-liked, and a natural leader, he has earned the respect and admiration of his fellow knights, and especially the beautiful Lady Brynn.

But something is amiss at the training camp. Their new trainer is popular but lacks the passion to inspire them to true service to the King and the Prince. Besides this, the knights are too busy enjoying a season of good times to be concerned with a disturbing report that many of their fellow Knights have mysteriously vanished.

When Sir Dalton is sent on a mission, he encounters strange attacks, especially when he is alone. As his commitment wanes, the attacks grow in intensity until he is captured by Lord Drox, a massive Shadow Warrior. Bruised and beaten, Dalton refuses to submit to evil and initiates a daring escape with only one of two outcomes–life or death. But what will become of the hundreds of knights he’ll leave behind? In a kingdom of peril, Dalton thinks he is on his own, but two faithful friends have not abandoned him, and neither has a strange old hermit who seems to know much about the Prince. But can Dalton face the evil Shadow Warrior again and survive?

This was the hardest review I’ve had to do yet.  I kept dreading reading the book and couldn’t figure out why until I finally set myself down to read it.  Then I remembered.  It’s book three!  I’ve not read books one and two.  That’s why I was dragging my feet.  Who wants to read book three first?  Then I realized that I’ve done that before and survived so I picked it up and started reading.

Fortunately, there is an introduction to the series and that kind of got my mind in the spirit of the book.  This series is a lovely cross between fantasy and allegory with a lovely medieval flair to it.    The dedication alone was inspiring!  “I dedicate this book to all the young men and women who seek the truth of the Lord.  Be courageous, bold, and prepared, and may your faith stand firm on the solid rock.” My only objection is that solid rock infers Jesus and therefore, in my opinion, should be capitalized.  Thought you oughtta know.

From the very first pages, you’re thrust into a world of suspense, intrigue, and plenty of action.  Though I assume this is considered “juvenile fiction”, the story was gripping, compelling.  I found myself holding my breath until tense moments abated and finally cheering as Dalton realizes his eyes have been focused in the wrong place.  As he rushes to secure happiness for himself and another, the book concludes and leaves you impatient for the next.  That, my friends, in my opinion, is what makes a book great.  If you finish one with hands outstretched for the next, this is a good book.

I want to tell you more.  I want to open doors and windows that make you ache to grab a copy but I can’t.  It’ll totally ruin the story!

So, if you like The Ranger’s Apprentice, if you love the Squire’s Tale, if you’ve always loved the symbolism of Narnia… pick up this series by Chuck Black.  You won’t regret it.  It has all the beauty and imagery of Pilgrim’s Progress but written in a much less pedantic and archaic manner.

I originally had every intention of sending this book to a lucky commenter as a “Thank you” for reading my blog but alas, I’ll want to read it again after books one and two arrive and Jenna is impatiently drumming her fingers for them.  So, sorry… we’re keeping it.


6 thoughts on “Book Review: Sir Dalton and the Shadow Heart

  1. Chautona, what age group would you recommend for reading this book? My 9 year old loves to read. Or would it make a better read out loud book for Mom to read to the children (again what age?)?

    • I’m guessing its target audience is somewhere between 10-14 but I’m not sure. I’d give it to any nine year old who is a good reader.

  2. I’ll have to check and see if David has read this one. I know he’s read several books by Chuck Black, but I can’t keep up with his reading anymore.

  3. These sound wonderful – and I checked – they’re in our library’s system! I should have thought of your blog as a resource to find good books for my older children! – Heidi

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