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Red King Hardcover – May 14, 1990

3.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Red King rules the Forest Lands with an iron hand, unleashing a terrible plague when his subjects disobey him. Petie, a trickster, showman and thief, dreams of stealing the Red King's gold. Timkin, an acrobat and Petie's slave, dreams of destroying the Red King because he killed her parents. Kelleher's tale of Petie and Timkin's uneasy alliance and desperate quest is a violent, harrowing adventure story and a convoluted allegory of freedom and slavery. The Red King is filled with images of disease, deformity, destruction, bloodshed and senseless cruelty that may disturb some readers. While Petie and Timkin's experiences are highly suspenseful, the novel's allegorical aspects make Petie's behavior seem arbitrary and insufficiently motivated. Ages 11-up.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9-- Timkin, a skilled female acrobat, belongs to a traveling troupe of entertainers enslaved to a kindly master. When they innocently perform in a village that does not pay tribute to the feared Red King, they suffer the villagers' punishment; soldiers unleash an infectious red mist, inflicting everyone with the fatal fever that has given the Red King his name. Timkin alone survives, awakening cured in the care of an enigmatic magician, Petie, whose companions are a monkey and a bear. He tells her of his plan to penetrate the Red King's stronghold and steal the ruler's legendary treasures. Approximately half of the book takes place within the King's gates. Timkin, Petie, and the animals' journey into the Earth is reminiscent of Bilbo and Gandalf's trip to claim the dragon's treasure in The Hobbit. They encounter monstrous creatures and endure terrible hardships, including Petie's infection with the red fever. Excitement and suspense are maintained throughout the story; readers will anxiously turn the pages, eager to discover the outcome. Timkin is a nicely developed, likable character, a brave young girl whose courage and goodness overcome her desires for revenge. Petie remains an unfathomable personality, perhaps symbolic of the good and evil impulses that lie within everyone. However, he shows love and compassion for his companions, and never claims to be other than a trickster and a thief, albeit a charming one. Fantasy lovers will find this to be an intriguing tale that provides not only high adventure but also some challenging food for thought about the nature of good and evil. --Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 185 pages
  • Publisher: Dial; 1St Edition edition (May 14, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803707584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803707580
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,453,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I first read this book when I was in the sixth grade in Westmead Primary School, Sydney, Australia. My teacher Ms. Carr would read it to us in class, as we followed along, staring down at our own copies. I, ofcourse, would go home later that day and read ahead, much to Ms. Carr's chagrin. Now, after ten years, three cross-continent moves, and adolescence I still remember the afternoons when Ms. Carr would read The Red King to us. Sure, I remember the various Paul Jennings books we read, but Victor Kelleher's book with the acrobatic slaves, their collars, a tyrant king, an unworthy master... lingers more than is warranted. Read this book- especially if you are in the sixth grade. I guarantee, you will not forget it.
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Format: Hardcover
The red king. A review.
The red king revolves around a young girl who has been given the red fever. Red fever is a fatal disease unless a certain fruit is used to cure it. The red king creates the red fever and sends his soldiers who are immune to it to spread it amongst those who defy his authority by not paying the heavy tribute he demands. Timkin the acrobat meets with Petie a magician/thief who has 2 companions Bruno a large 10 year old bear and Crystal a tiny agile monkey with an independent mind frame. These 4 unlikely friends set out to stop the red kings tyranny. I liked the fantasy adventure style of this book.
thanks for reading.
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A Kid's Review on November 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A twisting tale of an acrobat, trickster, loyal bear and monkey, that take on the infamous deadly Red King. The characters are a bit dodgy and are not explained very well, and the trickster is too confusing to follow mostly. The story is of course extremely predictable, unlikely hero(es) take on very powerful and guarded antagonist. The settings however are quite good and under the Red King's volcano mountain is the best. Yet, again the ending is of so poor mystery and fantasy-thinking that the book should just end earlier to save the reader lots of time. It (the ending) is very predictable and is practically given away by making it obvious that the acrobat carries something around that is no importance right now, but definatley will be used. The Red King is a worth-while book for about 9 chapters, but the rest are bad. 'The King's pets'is especially good, in my opinion. The book rates 2/5 stars.
'The Reviewist'
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By Ed on November 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
To the reader,
The Red King is not entirely interesting, in fact its not interesting at all. This book is based around a girl who can do everything (well almost everything) nothing stops her. A greedy thief takes her forcefully under his wing, she is a slave. She is offered freedom (for a price). The once pleasant Red King is causing harm to those who don't obey him.
Classic fantasy. Good guy joins with relatively good guy, they cross lands together so as to thwart the evil "baddy" who is not as evil as they thought. People die, people get hurt, people are happy etc.
I would have thought Victor (with the reputation he has) could surely do better than this. I expect that he didn't take too long to do this book. If he did he has wasted his time.
Sorry to spoil it, but the ending is hopeless.
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Format: Hardcover
The Red King is yet another unreal, fantasy adventure from Victor Kelleher, with unreal characters in an unreal world, and an amazingly pridictable ending. It tells the story of young acrobat Timkin, who amazingly survived the notorious 'red fever'. She meets up with hippie-like trickster Petie with high hopes of bringing down the Red King, who rules over their land. Now, the only problem with that is you can see the ending from a mile off. Like all his other novels, Vic introduces many wild and wonderful characters, including a monkey who can climb an invisible rope, and a bear who can dance. Methinks you would have to be a fan of Kellahers other novels to appreciate this one. Unfortunately, I am not.
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Format: Hardcover
The Red King is a fantasy/adventure novel by Victor Kelleher. It is all about a small group consisting of a monkey, a bear, an acrobatic girl and a magician all going against the evil and selfish king of the forest lands. The king is a very powerful man owning everything and controlling everyone. He is also an extremely wealthy man as he gets money from all the people living in his kingdom. The group decides to try the impossible and rob the red king, but it's not all that easy. Join them in their exciting battle to get through his fortress. It is a great book with only the one weakness, there is a major anticlimax as I see it. None the less it's a magical adventure well worth the read.
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By A Customer on November 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Shocking, I was bored to death with this basic fairy tale. The book had good characters in Bruno a big friendly and hairy bear and Crystal a small but powerful monkey. However, the plot was as dull a blue tongue lizard lying under a rock in the middle of winter. It was the same as all the fantasy books ever written, a goody which always kills a bady. I was forced to read the book which also probably added to my discontent of the book. One good aspect of the book was its easy reading. It had no big words that would fool adults and was aimed at teenagers thus using their language. So overall the book had a few good aspects but I was disappointed in the book..
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