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The Last Knight (Knight and Rogue) Paperback – August 26, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Knight and Rogue Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8–10—Longing for adventure, 18-year-old Sir Michael declares himself a knight errant (although the book has a medieval-era setting, no one has heard of such a thing in many years and the idea often gets him laughed at). Fisk, 17, is his indebted and unwilling squire. After rescuing Lady Ceciel from her prison tower, they learn that she is not a damsel in distress, but rather an accused murderess. Their attempts to bring her to justice result in her comeuppance and in the teens' tightly forged friendship that will clearly lead to further adventures. The novel is brimming with saved-by-a-hair escapades and fast-paced realistic action, told alternately from each teen's point of view. Their world is filled with "magica," a gift that allows its possessor to perform extraordinary tasks. In fact, while Michael and Fisk's bravery and wits frame their approach to the problems they incur, it is magica that enables them to escape their would-be dire fate. Nevertheless, the underlying messages could not be more real: the importance of truth, the value of friendship, and the need for staying true to oneself. Delivered skillfully, these ideas are sure to leave their mark on readers. Unusual and invented vocabulary is employed throughout. Like Bell's The Goblin Wood(2003) and The Wizard Test (2005, both HarperCollins), this well-created fantasy is a great read with worthwhile moral issues pertinent to its intended audience.—Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“This well–created fantasy is a great read.” (School Library Journal)

“A fun read” (Kirkus Reviews)
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Product Details

  • Series: Knight and Rogue (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; Reprint edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060825057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060825058
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #713,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Me the writer--a loose, not-really-biography of Hilari Bell.

A lot of writers will tell you that they've been writers from the time they were children--well, I'm not one of those people. I was always a reader. There's nothing better than falling into the world of a book and just living there till the story's over...and even then, it stays in your head and heart. At least, the best ones do. But writing came a lot later, in school assignments--which I enjoyed, but still, assignments. Homework no less.

I started writing seriously when I first got out of library school. I'd been reading picture books preparing to do storytimes, and I thought, "Picture books. They're short. They're for little kids. How hard could it be?" Several years and dozens of unsold--and unsalable--picture books later I'd found out how hard they could be! Picture books are harder to write (a good one, anyway) than anything except poetry. And they're harder to sell than anything but poetry, too.

One of the things I've learned about writing over the years is to never say never, because whenever I've said "I will never write XYZ" within a few years I end up writing it. Some true examples: I could never write a novel. I could never write a young adult novel. I could never write science fiction. I could never write an adult novel. I could never make those books a romance. (OK, so I haven't actually made them into a romance, but a lot more romantic elements are creeping into my writing.) I should probably say, I could never write a best seller, just to see what would happen... Hmm. I could never write a best seller!

OK, Murphy's Law being what it is, that probably won't work. If for no other reason than that, primarily, I write for me. This is something I probably shouldn't admit, but I don't really care that much about my audience. (Sorry, audience.) I write the books I want to read. I tell the stories that I want to tell. And I write to make the story the best it can be...because the story is what I care about it. I love it when other people care about my stories too, but that's not my primary motivation. Which is the other reason "I could never write a best seller."

(I know it probably won't work--but it doesn't hurt to try, now does it?)

--Hilari

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By MonaK on April 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is fun to read for all ages. I noticed it is recommend for someone far younger than me, a grandmother of five, but I greatly enjoyed it and bought copies as gifts for various ages. There is a blend of humor and suspense. The suspense is probably more edge of the seat for the targeted age group, but keeps us older folks turning pages. Alternating between the two characters is a stroke of briallance and adds much to the story, especially since the two characters come from opposite social standings, giving one street smarts and one book smarts as well as opposing perspectives, ethics, and values. It is an excellent example of good intentions and misplaced trust landing someone into a difficult situation, a situation everyone can identify with!
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Format: Hardcover
I absolutely loved this book! It was excellent, fabulous, and had me laughing out loud in public. Fisk and Sir Michael are the perfect duo and balance eachother wonderfully. Fisk's humor, reluctance and practical-ness make him a fun character, and Sir Michael's cheer enthusiam, drive, and chivalry make him every bit amusing. The plot was good and thought-out, the characters were entertaining, and the book itself is addictive. I'd reccomend this to anyone, young or old.
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Format: Paperback
Set in an alternate medieval-like world where chivalrous knights errant are a thing of the past and magical abilities are genetic, The Last Knight follows the exploits of Michael and Fisk as they set out to correct an innocent but damning mistake. Though knights errant no longer exist, the life of adventure and good-deeds calls to Michael more than his father's idea of continuing on the family estates, and so he dubs himself Sir Michael and sets out to seek the life he desires. On his journeys, Michael stumbles across Fisk, a con artist who misjudged his mark and now faces punishment unless someone is willing to buy off his punishment. Michael agrees to do this if Fisk agrees to serve as his squire until Michael deems Fisk redeemed.

So the stage is set, as Michael and Fisk set out to rescue the Lady Ceciel from imprisonment in a tower. Thinking themselves gallantly coming to the aid of a Lady, it isn't until after Lady Ceciel is long gone that they are informed the reason for her imprisonment. Far from a damsel in distress, Ceciel had been imprisoned pending her trial on the charges of murdering her husband. Facing imprisonment themselves, Michael and Fisk are offered a chance to redeem themselves if they track down Lady Ceciel and bring her to justice. Lady Ceciel is wily, however, and she is determined not to be caught again.

Hilari Bell has created three superb characters in Michael, Fisk, and Lady Ceciel. Michael and Fisk are opposites in most ways, often finding themselves at odds with one another over questions of morality and what constitutes a wise course of action. These debates are highly amusing. Michael is well-described and wears his heart on his sleeve. He is a noble and kind man with an unwavering sense of right and wrong.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this story and the banter between the sarcastic side-kick and the chivalrous knight.

You can't go wrong with this story. :) It is fun, well written, good paced, a surprising delight, and a great adventure. It left me wanting to dive straight in to the continuing journey.

I liked the story of friendship, especially since it was a friendship neither of the characters expected to find in each other. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All right, let me preface this by saying that the writing is not the most complex in this story- it's written for children, and in book one especially is somewhat simplistic. However, that's not to say an adult can't enjoy it, even one with more "classical" taste. I'm an English major with a great deal of "higher" literature (as my teachers tend to describe it, presumptuously enough) under my belt, and this is still one of my default stories when I need something to entertain myself.

The world is complex and engaging, the magic system is unusual, dark, and threatening, and the plot is both hilarious and fascinating, often tearing apart common fantasy tropes in the most entertaining way possible. What really makes this one of my favorite books, however, is the character interaction. Michael and Fisk are one of my favorite duos out there, with wonderfully contrasting personalities, nigh endless banter, and their friendship, as it grows, is the type that has you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

That's not to say, of course, that the story is without its perils. I was either grinning or wincing throughout, the latter because there's no shortage of hardships along the road- The Last Knight hits the "trauma conga line" tv trope right on the nail. (If you enjoy a bit of hurt/comfort in your tales, that's just a bonus.) There are high stakes, and moments that might get your heart going a bit, but its one of those books that you walk away from feeling all the better for having read it.
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Format: Hardcover
when I read the back cover of this book, I opened it expecting to read an entertaining story of a bumbling knight, a sort of young adult, fantastical don quixote. I wasn't disappointed-the humor is some of the best i've read in a while-but the rest of the story shattered my every expectation. the two main characters-Michael, a nobleman's fourth son and also incidentally a knight errant, and Fisk, a con man of unknown history whom he saved from an unclear but dire fate, and who is serving as his squire to pay off the debt-are immediately endearing. in a fun turnaround of the usual mystery book,in which the characters are excuses for the mystery, the story is built on the foundation of the characters, with a mystery there as an excuse for the characters. as the plot twists and turns, we see Fisk slowly seeing Michael as more than a fool, and Michael in turn recognizing Fisk's rather odd brand of nobility to be no less noble than his own. the ensuing friendship is tested and tried over the course of several more books (two of which I have read and found to be as exciting and intriguing as the first) and one can easily sympathize with the author when she says that Michael and Fisk are her favorite characters to write-they're some of my favorites to read.
another part I liked about this book was the willingness of Michael to sacrifice himself for the people around him, even the ones who didn't particularly deserve it.
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