This post features the second book in David and Karen Mains’ Kingdom Tales series. To read about the first book in the series, click here.
Once upon a time there was a lad, with boyhood behind him and manhood close, who heard the call of the King to follow him into Enchanted City and do the work of the Kingdom…
I’m not sure if one is allowed to play favorites with a trilogy of books; but if so, Tales of the Resistance is my favorite of the Kingdom Tales series. When we left Hero at the conclusion of Tales of the Kingdom, he was still a boy, learning and growing in Great Park with the goal of returning to the Enchanted City to do the King’s work there. In this second volume of his story, the time has come to serve, and Hero leaves everything that he knows is safe and returns to the Enchanted City, the place of his sad and frightened childhood.
Like Tales of the Kingdom, this book begins and ends with Hero’s quest in Enchanted City and includes several side stories in between, while setting the tone and developing momentum for the final dramatic conclusion. Hero finds a place in the city with the Taxi Resistance, a group of the King’s men and women, as the Keeper of the Chronicle of Sightings of the King. While coming back to touch on Hero’s actions at points, the narrative turns to other individuals to show what life is like in Enchanted City during this time of the Enchanter’s rule. The reader meets Sewer Rat and Boiler Brat, children who are forced to work in the city’s underground power supplier, and Carny, a young girl whose encounter with the Enchanter has left her fearful and withdrawn. In each case, we also see how the King restores these children to light and happiness and frees them from their fears. My favorite story, however, is the one about Thespia, the Most Beautiful Player of All, who takes the stage each night at Palace of Players to present stories to the people. Thespia has a true heart for her work; her past pain and her belief that there must be a better life somewhere inspire her and fill her with empathy for the people and passion for the stories she is telling. As she acts out the old city “myths” about a long-ago king, she fills her lines with fervent wishes that they would be true, that there really would be a king who speaks hope to her city. One night the King attends the play at the Palace of Players; Thespia recognizes him for who he is, and at his invitation, she joins him in his work, using her own gifts to tell others about the Kingdom.
And Thespia became a street player in the back alleys and dead ends of Enchanted City, acting out the King’s story in such a way that all who saw her suspected—then hoped—that there was a real kingdom.
In the final chapters of Tales of the Resistance, the authors draw a closer allegory of the true story of Jesus Christ. With the help of Big Operator of the Taxi Resistance, the King leads an Orphan Exodus out of Enchanted City, freeing all the children who had been captive under the Enchanter and welcoming them to a new life in Great Park. After the exodus, however, Big Operator is killed and the King is captured. In Traffic Court, the Enchanter agrees to free all of the prisoners currently in his custody in exchange for the life of the King. The King’s sacrifice will be the reprieve of all their sentences. The King speaks not a word in his defense, and the frenzied crowd begins a procession to Burning Place. The pyre is lit, and the death drums roll. Death has done what it will always do.
But—as we know, as Lucy and Susan discovered at the Stone Table—in stories like these, death is never quite the end. As midnight falls over Burning Place, a light appears, a small flower of flame amidst the ashes of the pyre. As Hero, Amanda, and the members of the Taxi Resistance watch in wonder, the flame grows, and the laugh of the King is heard again. The Great Celebration begins, the King starts to lead the dance, and light splits the darkness.
Then, while his own eyes shine with day, he lifts his hands to the light, and in this first morning of the beginning again of all time, he proclaims aloud, “The Enchantment is broken! LET THE RESTORATION BEGIN!”
Hero’s story is continued in Tales of the Restoration.