Twogalsandabook recently read The Summoned King by Dave Neuendorf. In addition to our reviews below, you can also see the interview with the author and enter to win free Kindle copies of both: The Summoned King and The Enchanter King! The giveaway starts 5/22/2017 at 12 a.m. and ends on 5/29/2017
Indiana high school senior James Madison Young can best be described as a Renaissance man: intelligent, of good character, and possessed by insatiable curiosity about everything from Krav Maga to robotics. One evening, he falls asleep while studying at the library. He wakes to find himself in another world, filled with magic, danger and romance. He has been summoned by court wizard Maynard to be the king of Kalymbria. Forced into marriage with the beautiful and magically powerful yet untrained Julia Roper for his queen, he must restore the lapsed Constitution in the face of opposition from a hostile Council of Advisors, and defend his new country from the evil machinations of the wizard Ruinga and her allied kingdom of Venicka. Rediscovering the lost art of enchantment may provide him with a powerful edge in his quest, if he can survive the assassins and conspiracies arrayed against him.
Stacy’s Review: 5*****
At first, I was thrown off by the inference to somethings which had an occultic appearance in the story, but I am glad I stuck with it, as I was pleasantly surprised. This is a perfect example of not judging a book by its cover, or to be more precise in this case, by the first few pages of the book.
Jim is an American teenager, who, one minute in the library in his high school, is “summoned” the next to another realm because, without his knowledge, he has been selected to be their next king of Kalymbria. The government is corrupt, and he has his work cut out for him trying to bring justice, transparency, order and liberty to his new country. He faces an arranged marriage, collusion, assassination attempts, kidnapping of family members, and with ingenuity and wisdom, manages to navigate the many challenges. I was especially thrilled to see the Christian overtones to the story. I cannot wait to see what awaits King Jim, his young wife Julia in the rest of the series. Will he be successful is his efforts to change Kalymbria for the better? Will his marriage thrive? Will he ever get to go back home to his real family? The suspense is too great……
I received this book from the author for an honest review. My thanks to Mr. Neuendorf for sharing the book with me.
The Summoned King by Dave Neuendorf is a fantasy story about a 17 year old student named James, mostly referred to as Jim, who falls asleep in a library and wakes up in another world. He’s been chosen by Maynard the Wizard and is expected to be the new king of Kalymbria.
I truthfully enjoyed Jim’s character. What’s not to like about him? He’s smart, confident, considerate, and seems to be completely comfortable even though he’s been transplanted into another world, Kalymbria. Much of the story centers around James settling in as king, getting to know Julia-his soon to be wife, and devising a plan to fix Kalymbria. I enjoyed the interaction between James and Julia and found it interesting the way they expeditiously clicked. The book contains a little bit of everything including science and Christianity, although not too much for those not interested in those elements.
This is a very smooth and simple read that’s perfect for young adults. Even without an abundance of action, I thought it was wonderful and I actually admired that there wasn’t any explicit content which makes it perfect for younger readers. I believe the second book will have much more action especially with the conclusion of The Summoned King. I’ve heard that the second book is releasing soon and I’m looking forward to reading it.
I’d like to thank the author for granting me a complimentary copy of this book.
3.5 stars rounded up to 4****
Twogalsandabook: Did you always want to be an author?
Dave Neuendorf: No, I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a chemist. That evolved over the years as I got actual experience in the workaday world, from chemist to metallurgist, to computer programmer… It’s been over maybe the last ten years that I started collecting ideas for novels, and just the last three years that I actually started writing.
Twogalsandabook: What was the inspiration for this story?
Dave Neuendorf: I’m sure that way in the back of my mind was A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. But mostly I wanted a chance to come up with a society governed by a constitution like ours, but with more safeguards against the government ignoring the constitutional limits on power. Putting someone with knowledge of American history in a medieval-level society seemed like the best way to do that.
Twogalsandabook: At what age did you start writing?
Dave Neuendorf: I’ve been writing on political topics in the form of newspaper columns, blogs, and letters to the editor since about age eighteen. My fiction writing didn’t start until about age 64.
Twogalsandabook: Are there any specific writers and poets that inspire you?
Dave Neuendorf: Great science fiction, fantasy, and thriller authors like Clifford Simak, Tolkien, Modesitt, Jordan, and Harlan Coben. There really are too many to list. Even less than stellar authors inspire me, by making me think “How would I have written that part?”
Twogalsandabook: Is there anything you’re working on now?
Dave Neuendorf: I’ve started on The Last King, the third in my fantasy trilogy. I also have a political thriller in progress, but events have passed it by, so I’ll have to come up with something new that hasn’t hit the news yet in real life before I can finish it.
Twogalsandabook: What ambitions do you have for your writing career?
Dave Neuendorf: I’d like to keep writing as long as I’m physically able. If I’m blessed enough in my writing, maybe it can even support us in retirement. Not holding my breath on that, though.
Twogalsandabook: Do you think your writing will stay in the fantasy genre or any specific genres?
Dave Neuendorf: Most of my ideas are in fantasy, including urban fantasy. I also have many ideas for political thrillers. Since I’m 67 now, I’ll have to be selective about what I start, and maybe avoid multi-book series to avoid leaving my readers high and dry when my time is done :>)
Twogalsandabook: Do you read a lot? What are some of your favorite books, genres, and authors?
Dave Neuendorf: I read all the time; too much, in fact. My favorite genres are fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, and westerns. Lately I read more fantasy than anything else, and mostly indie authors on Kindle Unlimited.
Twogalsandabook: What was the most difficult part of writing this book? Was there anything that you deleted or altered?
Dave Neuendorf: It’s always difficult to know where the plot should go next. For the third book, I’m trying to start with a more detailed outline to make that easier. I changed the beginning of the first book in response to some beta readers who thought it was too abrupt to have Jim being summoned on the first page. As it turns out, I think I may have been wrong to make that change. My instincts may have been right to begin with.
Twogalsandabook: Did you have to do much research for the book?
Dave Neuendorf: None at all. Everything is made up or comes from generic knowledge of medieval societies. Details of military hardware, formations, etc. came from my son Matt, an expert on all such things.
Twogalsandabook: Where is your favorite place to write? Do you have a favorite “writing” atmosphere?
Dave Neuendorf: I always write in my home office. I need peace and quiet to concentrate on anything, including writing. I’m definitely not a multi-tasker. My wife can read and watch TV at the same time. I can’t stand to hear the TV even at a distance, or play music while working. If I have music on, I’m actively listening, and can do nothing else.
Twogalsandabook: Do you have any advice for other novice or aspiring writers?
Dave Neuendorf: Get several people to proof-read your books. If you can afford a professional editor, hire one, but keep your own style. Don’t slavishly follow someone else’s opinion about the tone of your writing. Find a good professional cover designer so your covers will attract readers. Many covers drive potential readers away.
Twogalsandabook: We loved that the main character is a Hoosier. Are there any true people or places in the book?
Dave Neuendorf: There are snatches of my own experience (or in some cases, what I wish were my own experiences) in Jim’s life and character.
Twogalsandabook: Congratulations on your second book! Will there be a third book in The Kalymbrian Chronicles?
Dave Neuendorf: The third and last book will be called The Last King, because in it, Jim will retire as king after establishing a stable republic in Kalymbria.
Twogalsandabook: Who would you recommend read this book?
Dave Neuendorf: Strangely, though the books are written with YA readers in mind, many (most?) of the people I know have read it are adults. I’d like to see younger readers who might be influenced by some of my political or religious points. Readers who like light fantasy (as opposed to dark fantasy like George R.R. Martin’s) should enjoy it. Parents should note that I do not expose readers to bad language or explicit sex, though there is plenty of violence without excessive gore. I don’t see how you can have an interesting story without violence.
*THE FOLLOWING TWO QUESTIONS ARE SPOILERS*
Twogalsandabook: Will Jim ever get to go back home? If so, will Julia get to go with him?
Dave Neuendorf: I guess this is a spoiler, but Jim will never go home due to limitations of the summoning process. He would never leave Julia behind in any case. In the third book, one of his major goals will be finding a way to communicate with his family on Earth.
Twogalsandabook: In the next book, will Nancy play a bigger role?
Dave Neuendorf: Nancy will be about fourteen in the third book. It would be impossible to keep an irrepressible girl of that age completely in the background. The same goes for Celia (from the second book), who will be about eleven. I don’t know yet what their roles will be, but I like both of them and will want them to blossom.
Twogalsandabook: If The Summoned King were adapted into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters in the book?
Dave Neuendorf: I’m not familiar with many modern actors. The casting process would be a lot of fun, and I’d love to do it.
Twogalsandabook: We learned that your son is also an editor and author. Do you feel you have been an inspiration to him?
Dave Neuendorf: I’m sure I’ve been a big influence on all three of our sons, but probably not an inspiration in the way that you mean. Matt’s editing is limited to my books, and he published his first fantasy novel (Cataphract, under the pen name Matt Decker) before I did. If anything, his experience with indie publishing inspired me. Our writing styles are very different, as are some of our interests. He loves detailed battle scenes, for example, and I try to cut mine as short as possible because I find them boring.
Our oldest son, Christopher, is a pastor and a true academic. His tendency to follow obsessions, for example, a several month period when he tried building the best trireme ship he could out of cardboard, was partially an inspiration for my Jim character. He writes great sermons and academic papers, and is a blogger, musician, and many other things. He’s also the father of our two grandchildren.
Twogalsandabook: How do you deal with negative book reviews?
Dave Neuendorf: I try to learn from them, either about what I could have done better, or about what some people don’t like. They do hurt in some cases, but when that happens, I go back and read some of the positive reviews as an antidote.
Twogalsandabook: Is there anything you would like to add that we have not inquired?
Dave Neuendorf: I’m sure your readers have heard this many times, but I’ll say it again. The total count of reviews, especially on Amazon, heavily influences a book’s placement in search results. So please post reviews, even if only a few words, whether positive, negative, or in-between. Also, the third book in my trilogy is still in the formative stages. If any readers of the first two books have ideas of what they’d like to see in the plot of the third book, now is the time to let me know.
Twogalsandabook: Are there any social media platforms or websites that readers could connect with you on?
*Twogalsandabook would like to thank author Dave Neuendorf for his time in completing this interview*
The giveaway starts 5/22/2017 at 12 a.m. and ends on 5/29/2017
About the Author:
Dave Neuendorf has been a lover of fantasy, science fiction, and political thrillers since the 1950’s, when he would rather read than romp during recess in school. After decades of making notes of stories he’d like to write, he finally set out to create his own fantasy series in 2015. The first fruit of his efforts is The Summoned King, published in February 2016, as book one of The Kalymbrian Chronicles. Development of the series will proceed as time allows while he continues to pursue his day job as a Java software development consultant. He is also working on his first political thriller.
Dave has been married since 1976 to his one love, Patricia. He is the father of three sons, and grandfather of one young lady and one tiny gentleman, so far. He and his family live with their three dogs, a Samoyed, a Siberian Husky and a Giant Alaskan Malamute in Aurora, Indiana. – Goodreads
To find Dave on Goodreads click HERE
Dave’s second book The Enchanter King is now available!
James Madison Young, American teen, has been summoned to serve as the figurehead King of Kalymbria. Not one to be satisfied with a do-nothing role, he has wrested control from the corrupt ruling council. After solidifying his hold on the reins of government power, he has instituted the first of his planned reforms: abolition of slavery and human sacrifice. A year after his summoning, he now must defeat rebellious former Council members who seek a return to the old ways. Martialing the newly raised Kalymbrian Legion, he leaves his pregnant wife, Julia, to serve as regent, and sets out to suppress the nascent rebellion before it can plunge his country into unbridled civil war. Along the way, he invents powerful new enchanted devices, and meets interesting new allies, dangerous new foes, and a dragon!