With a long title that assumes you would not know who Prince Philip is without his famous connection – Philip Eade’s biography of Prince Philip’s early years cleverly focuses on the man’s foundations – from his grandparents to his marriage to a young British princess. I downloaded the Kindle sample for Prince Philip: The Turbulent Early Life of the Man Who Married Queen Elizabeth II. Unfortunately, the extensive family trees of the “The Houses of Windsor, Hesse, and Battenberg” (his mother’s side) and the “House of Greece” (father’s side) were too small to study. Undeterred by the various houses of kings, princes, and dukes across Europe that rival Catherine of Russia, I started my own cheat sheet to keep the royals straight; basically, they are all related – with Queen Victoria starting all the interconnections.
Prince Philip has always seemed an austere snob – almost grumpy at times as he followed the requisite steps behind the Queen, but Eade’s book could “rebrand” his image. Philip’s young life was tragic, brave, “turbulent,” sometimes with wartime suspense; his mother was deaf and his father abandoned him when he was eight years old. Eade writes the biography with the flavor of historical fiction.
When the sample stopped, I bought the book and am now slowly falling under the spell of the tall young blond German who was a Prince of Greece as well as a Mountbatten of England.
Seems he really was the dashing prince charming when Elizabeth fell for him.
“I can steal anything.”
In Megan Whalen Turner’s Newbery winning book, The Thief, Gen slyly steals the king’s seal, but then brags about it – the downfall of all good thieves. After some time in the bowels of the prison, the king’s magus – a Merlin-like advisor with wisdom and intellect – makes him an offer he cannot refuse. His mission: to steal a hidden stone from a foreign land to secure the king’s access to more land, more riches, and the beautiful foreign queen.
Using an imaginative setting resembling some of ancient Greece, with medieval trappings, and anachronisms that include guns, pocket watches, and glass panes, Turner tells the story in Gen’s voice, weaving together stories of ancient gods, a good-hearted but bumbling prince in training, a faithful guardian, and a feisty and humorous rogue who has his own plan for the booty.
Despite clues throughout (that you will notice later), the ending is a wonderful surprise.
Turner has four books in the Queen’s thief young adult series. I started with her newest – A Conspiracy of Kings – and stopped midbook to find her starter book – The Thief – and glad I did. Although it’s possible to read the books in any order – just as you could with the Harry Potter series – it’s much more fun to watch the characters mature and progress in each. If you decide to dive in, read The Thief first.
In this last book, the young prince has grown up – as has everyone else in the repertoire, including the Queen’s thief – and some romance has seeped in. But, the swashbuckling fights for honor and country are still ever-present. What fun! I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.