Tassie and the Black Baron
In this lively time-slip story (think Monty Python and the Holy Grail meets the dysfunctional family from hell) tearaway Tassie goes on a family outing to Huffington Castle. When Tassie is suddenly catapulted back to the 13th century, she meets young Prince William of Huffington who has a problem on his hands. Prince Billy must fight a duel to the death with his huge war-like cousin, the Baron of Badspite. Billy is a tender-hearted chap with a penchant for writing poetry and in love with Princess Violetzka of Mazovia. However, the baron is bad, brutal and determined to seize the kingdom for himself over Billy’s dead body. The king does not want to interfere – it’s a question of honour – and the court wizard has gone missing. So it will be up to Tassie to come up with a plan.
Frankly, Tassie and the Black Baron only just scrapes into the historical novel category by the skin of its teeth. We are in a 13th century that owes more to Disney than historical reality. If there are garde robes, dungeons, armour and mediaeval kitchens a-plenty, there are also, strangely, potatoes, and decidedly anachronistic casting of runes as well. However, the story zips along very satisfactorily and we, too, want Prince Billy to develop some fighting spirit and come good and the bad baron to get his comeuppance. If Katie Roy offers little with regard to historical accuracy, she certainly gets across the notion that mediaeval history (or what passes for it) can be fun.
For boys and girls of nine plus.