4 out of 4 stars
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The Third King: Coronation is the first installment in The Third King series by first-time author, Brian D. Campbell. The protagonist, Ben Gilsum, is a shy, socially awkward but well-spoken young man, who recently moved to Washington, DC., from his hometown in Decatur, Arkansas. His brilliant mind and impressive grades caught the attention of a private government contractor, and after a successful recruitment process, Ben was hired as an intelligence analyst. Ben was a compassionate man with impeccable work ethics and high moral standards, traits which enabled him to excel at his job. However, his impoverished background had left him with a feeling of inadequacy, which had become difficult to shake off despite his newfound success.
Ben’s desire to do more for his community led him to approach a secret society called the Brothers of Herrad, in the hopes of possibly becoming a member. As far as he could tell, the organization was mostly philanthropic and, also occasionally donated their time to volunteer at events in his neighborhood. Ben is all set to join, but is the society as innocent as it seems? Is he willing to risk his job, and possibly his life to find out? Ben can’t shake the feeling that there is more to the organization than meets the eye. Will he be able to uncover the truth before it’s too late?
For a first-time author, I was impressed with Campbell’s ability to deliver such a captivating story. The writing flowed smoothly, and the story was well paced. Both the historical and archaeological facts were indisputable, and the author’s meticulous attention to Ben’s character and state of mind was exceptional. His character traits were believable for a socially awkward person, and you could feel his discomfort whenever he found himself in unfamiliar situations. The descriptive language was adequate for me to create a mental image of what was happening in the story.
I found the story about the three kings and what they each represented to humanity quite interesting. The idea that the three wise men from the bible were more than they appeared was intriguing. There’s no way for me to say more on this without giving spoilers, as it forms the basis of the creation of the Brothers of Herrad. All I can say is there were some controversial theories in the book that made for quite a fascinating story.
The Third King: Coronation is a character-driven novel. The author’s focus, for the most part, was on the protagonist, Ben Gilsum. The reader usually does not know beyond what Ben knows at any given point as the narration is from Ben’s point of view. While there is nothing unusual about this format, the author does break from it more than once allowing the reader to view other characters in scenes where Ben is absent. I would have liked if the author had used these scenes to provide a better backstory for some of the other key characters in the book; characters like Ben’s mentor, Mr. James, or his girlfriend, Angelina Rindge. This lack of a better backstory was the only issue I had with the story, but as it was more of personal preference, the overall quality of the book was in no way affected.
The book appeared professionally edited. The only hiccup I found was that from chapter 53, the font appeared significantly smaller. There were a few plot twists in the story, and most of them were easy to spot. Nevertheless, there was no predicting how it ended. I am expectantly looking forward to the next book in the series. Therefore, I rate The Third King: Coronation 4 out of 4 stars. If you enjoy reading character-driven novels with a dash of mystery, this is the book for you.
The Third King
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