The Shadow King

The Shadow King

Book - 2003
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Balthasar Stuart, the son of Elizabeth of Bohemia and an African prince, works as a doctor in late seventeenth-century Holland, until he is driven out by the plague to build a new life in Restoration London and Barbados.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2003
ISBN: 9780618485369
Branch Call Number: F STE NVD
Characteristics: viii, 303 p. : map ; 20 cm


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Jun 03, 2014

In this second book in the trilogy, Balthasar, son of Pelagius, an African prince, and Elizabeth of Bohemia, leaves Holland for London after the death of his father, when the plague ravages the country of his birth. He is a doctor, so expects to make his living there, but his rigid Puritanism is just one thing that makes life difficult for him in Restoration England. He lives among the Dutch Puritan community, and makes a life-long friend of a white English Puritan whose life story oddly matches his own. This man is descended from King Solomon and the last King of Byzantium. As two exiled kings, they feel a connection and hold themselves above the English. Balthasar's friend grew up in Barbados, and his mother's health prompts him to return to her. He convinces Balthasar to accompany him, saying his medical skills will be of great use there. Balthasar marries a white servant woman he barely knows, which causes him trouble in the racist society of the island. His wife proves to be a great help to him in other ways, however. Ultimately, they return to London. The story is compelling, and beautifully told--the horrors of life for the slaves and poor whites on Barbados are chilling. But Balthasar's personality, while clearly examined, is not as sympathetic as those of his parents, partly because they were so secretive with him.

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