By: Fred Pilcher
Published by: Outskirts Press
Publication Date: June 2021
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
Review Date: June 18, 2021
The “Traveler” is our minstrel in this incredibly fantastical tale that brings together some of the coolest characters, lands, royals, and so much more. Our minstrel begins by leading us into the life of Agatha, an amazing girl who will grow up to be one of the most intelligent, beloved, and creative queens who ever ruled over the unforgettable kingdom of Xana.
The troubadour sets the scene by walking through a “remote land littered with ancient ruins.” (And, yes, the book is so well-written, you actually can see, feel and almost smell everything the author is referring to throughout.) He cannot tell us whether Agatha is real or a legendary fictional character that was “spun” by the telling of tales, but we do know that the stories about this queen are varied and phenomenal – from taking down a sorcerer who was beyond evil to how her intelligence and close relationship with the commoners allowed Queen Agatha to achieve prosperity for her entire kingdom.
We begin with Queen Julia bringing Agatha into the world. Julia is an over-protective mom, to say the least. However, she’s been through heartache; she lost Agatha’s father – Prince Consort Marcel – when he fought alongside other soldiers to protect the country. Even though his station would have allowed him to stay in the castle protected, he was a gallant hero and did Julia, Agatha and the land of Xana proud by leading the troops and winning the war.
In Agatha’s adolescence, her duties are few; keeping up her royal appearance and behaving properly at events held in the palace are really the only things she has to worry about. The upside comes from a teacher who instills in her the love of learning. She absolutely loves to read, and since there’s a huge palace library at her disposable, she’s all set. What she abhors is the high-brow friends she has to hang out with just because they’re children of aristocrats. She plays games with them because she’s polite (usually playing the part of the leader), but likes the common folk far better than her royal pals. This ends up serving both her and the kingdom well. When she’s only twelve, she meets the Duke and Duchess of Mirana and helps solve their problem when it comes to delivering products to the master craftsmen of Xana, among other things. In fact, it’s her brains that make Agatha a true diplomat who begins solving other peoples’ problems by using her patience and her ability to always give good advice.
Reminding me a great deal of Robin Hood in his prime, Agatha is drawn to the plight of workers, from candlemaker’s to tanners, and aids them while also playing with their children instead of the spoiled ilk in the palace. As time moves forward, however, she learns that her surroundings are not idyllic; in fact, most of her people are living in the most frugal ways possible. She even meets up with Hector Ramirez who does the realm’s finances, and he teaches her figures and the various ways for Xana’s citizens to live debt-free lives.
At one of the palace’s extravagant events, filled with interesting characters, we are introduced to Magi members and their powerful brand of sorcery that alters Agatha’s own life path. Her fairy godmother tells Agatha about the Magi and their destruction of a kingdom named Wan, that lies across the sea from Xana. Her godmother explains to her that Olaf, the Crown Prince of Wan, will soon appear in Agatha’s life but will not be able to identify himself. It falls upon Agatha and her intuition to figure out who, exactly, the prince is; only after doing so will she be able to become his mate. If things work out correctly, the Magi’s evil spell that was cast would come to an end. If Agatha chooses wrong, however, many will perish.
From royal embezzlers to a very cool Parliament; from a true love named Leon to finding a person for the throne that could follow Agatha’s vision for Xana, each and every scene is a “must-read.” Focused on a queen with unfathomable mystique, it feels like after reading this you’ve become a treasured “insider” into this über-impressive world that you most definitely do not want to leave.
Quill says: Hail to the author! Queen Agatha and her tale are the perfect combination of Cinderella with the adventure and excitement only Indiana Jones can provide.
For more information on Agatha the Beloved Queen please visit the author's website at: agathathebeloved.wixsite.com/pilcher