The Future King: The Waking World
By Tom Huddleston
Published by David Fickling Books
We are in the Dark Ages - but the future version, after the world has been destroyed by pollution and climate change; rising sea levels have caused widespread destruction and forced man to go backwards to survive. Most people are now living in underground communities.
The comforts and technologies of the 21st century are things of the past and mankind has been forced to start again after the devastation.
Aran, the son of Law Carifax, a rich landowner, lives with his family and their workers in the underground farmstead of Hawk's Cross. Aran is Carifax's second son and his future is already mapped out for him.
His elder brother is receiving military training because he will be expected to defend the farmstead and surrounding area from enemies. Yet Aran's future is less exciting. After the death of his father, he will be expected to run the farmstead. But this is not the life he wants. He believes his destiny lies elsewhere.
The title of Tom Huddleston's impressive debut novel hints at the direction both the story and characters will take; echoes of legendary King Arthur, and the classic Once and Future King fantasy novel are to be found
However, The Waking World's intriguing, well-imagined setting promises that Huddleston's take on the Arthurian legend will prove both original and gripping. And readers will not be disappointed.
Huddleston takes his time to establish the book's setting and the people living there. The real plot is slow to start, too, but this does no harm to the book's overall excitement and enjoyment.
When bloodthirsty Marauders launch an attack on the area, Aran's destiny finally takes centre stage.
A mysterious stranger, Peregrine, becomes Aran's tutor; he is the ageless twin brother of a magician called Merlin: we all know the role Merlin played in preparing Arthur to become king.
Huddleston has taken a story that many people think they know and given it a new and thrilling spin that quickly hooks the reader. The many original twists and turns in his re-imagining will leave people eager to know what happens next.
Many books and films have told the story of the boy destined to be the legendary king, but Huddleston's promises to be one of the best.
John Millen can be contacted at MillenBookshelf@aol.com