Reviewed by Patricia Reding for Readers' Favorite
In The Eldridge Conspiracy, Book Four of Sir Kaye the Boy Knight Series, author Don M. Winn offers middle-grade readers an adventure they are sure to enjoy, as three boys, roughly 12 years of age, journey together while facing some of life’s greatest physical difficulties and emotional traumas. Their leader, Kaye, son of the famous knight, Sir Henry, is saddled with the undeserved reputation of being clumsy and accident-prone. He is, thus, pained to have earned a nickname he has come to loathe: Sir Don-Kaye (Sir Donkey). Even so, upon discovering a plot against the king, Kaye takes off to set things right, only to be followed in short order by his friends, Beau and Reggie. Shortly, two thugs, Birket and Fulkes, chase the three lads to and then from an abbey, to the city of Kingsbridge (where the boys save a man and his family held captive by threat), and finally, to the city of Rombauer Castle on the Day of Remembrance. But will they make it in time to save the king?
The three adventurers, Kaye, Beau, and Reggie, lack nothing in the way of resolve and creativity as they uncover the nefarious Baron Thomas’s plot, yet they do so in the face of serious odds. Kaye, who seeks to be a great knight like his father, suffers from feelings of inadequacy. No matter what he does, he feels he doesn’t measure up. Meanwhile, Reggie, the self-proclaimed Royal Chronicler of the group, has difficulties with reading and writing, in addition to which, he is prone to getting lost. It is these touches that Don M. Winn has added to The Eldridge Conspiracy (which he dedicates to all dyslexic and struggling readers), with which every young person will be able to identify at just that time in life when they are beginning to discover their own true selves and their own life missions. Books of adventure and challenge that still offer an emotional component are hard to come by for middle grade readers—and even more so for middle grade boys—yet Don M. Winn hits the mark dead center with The Eldridge Conspiracy.