Mr. Bartlett had...(wait a minute)...Mr. Bartlett? I don't speak that way. I'm going to call him Scott. He is not here to ask if it is okay to call him Scott, but it's my blog and I am more comfortable with Scott than Mr. Bartlett.
Scott had a couple of suggestions for how we could do this.
- He could write a guest post recalling some of the struggles he has had with publishing companies and what he has gone through to get this book published.
- He could send me the book and I could write a review myself.
He stated he could send me the book and gave me the choice of the 27th or 29th for my review. I objected since it was already June 28th and did not think I would be able to finish it in time. He probably began to question his choice of reviewers when he had to point out to me that he meant the 29th of August (face palm).
After reading the first chapter, I contacted Scott to let him know that I may not be the best person to review this book. I really wasn't enjoying it. To his credit, he responded that he would appreciate the review either way and would still hold up his end by pointing people toward my blog regardless of what I had to say about it.
Given the green light to say whatever I wanted, I felt some of the pressure of this assignment fall off my shoulders. This could be fun. I dove back into the book with renewed vigor.
Royal Flush is about a king who hates his job and the people in his kingdom. Since his constituents despise him even more, it is a mutual agreement. He even hates the man that appears to be his best friend, his fiddler. The fiddler hates the king even more and only sticks around because he needs a job and the king keeps him because he needs a fiddler.
This king is forced to ride a maniacal goat instead of a noble steed because the kingdom is in financial collapse. He executes or imprisons anyone who upsets him in anyway. Near the beginning of the story he has a girl thrown in the dungeon when his date with her was not going as well as he had hoped.
This miserable wretch of a king is harassed by the local media, despised by his own mother, drunk most of the time, and is unable to even have a decent conversation with people. His ineptitude brings disaster upon himself and his castle, but since no one else really wants the job there is little hope of any improvement. Despite everything and having no discernible people skills, he is in search of love, sort of.
A trumpet sounded in the distance. The King looked up, unenthused. His interest grew when he discerned a flood of movement on the apex of Shepherd’s Hill. He squinted. A swarm of black-clad figures was cresting the summit, only to rush down the side nearest the King. It seemed to be some sort of a parade, or a marathon, or perhaps a…
(The King’s mouth fell open.)
…a vast host of armed warriors, dressed in the same uniform Private Reginald had worn.
The trumpet blared again, inspiring the King once more to scamper down the hallways. This time, he screamed uncontrollably.
“Your Majesty!” Frederick called as the King ran past the room in which he and Eliza cuddled.
“Whatever is the matter?”
The King entered the room and paused to catch his breath, holding up a finger. Finally, he was ready.
“What is it?” Frederick said urgently.
The King’s brow furrowed. “I can’t remember.”
“It can’t have been very important. I’ll let you know if I recall.” The King left the room again.
Frederick and Eliza returned to snuggling.
The King came barrelling back in. “I remember now!” he shrieked. “Invaders! Approaching the castle!”
Frederick jumped up. “Is the drawbridge closed?”
The King thought this over.
“Then let’s go!” They dashed out of the room.
“Bring your fiddle!” said the King. They dashed back. Frederick tore open the case and extracted his instrument.
They dashed out again.
Downstairs, the attackers were already rushing into the entrance foyer.
“Hey!” Frederick shouted from the stairs, his voice cracking. The King cowered behind him. “Get out of here!” Frederick brandished the fiddle.
“Assail them!” ordered the King from over the fiddler’s shoulder.
By now completely pale, Frederick proceeded hesitantly down the staircase. “Hey!” he shouted again. He swung the instrument in a clumsy arc.
The black-uniformed soldiers drew up hastily. “Hold it, boys! He’s got a fiddle.”
“That’s right!” Frederick said.
“Is that a Stradivarius?” asked another soldier, who wielded a broadsword.
“Er, no,” the fiddler said. “It’s a replica.”
“Skillfully crafted, though,” said the swordsman. The invaders all agreed.
Another piped up. “Hey, now, you’re not going to hit us with that, are you?”
“I’ve been thinking about it!”
“But you might damage it,” a thoughtful young corporal observed.
“That’s possible, yes.”
“You shouldn’t jeopardize a decent piece of equipment like that.”
“I’ve taken leave of my senses!” Frederick said, gaining momentum.
“Instruments like that are hard to come by nowadays.”
“I’ll just have to do without!” the fiddler said, a wild gleam in his eyes.
The soldiers muttered among themselves. “Bloody maniacal,” one said. “Not a shred of respect for good craftsmanship,” said another.
The corporal cleared his throat. “If you’re not going to be reasonable, then we’ll have to. Come on, men. We’ll find another way in. On the double, now.”
The soldiers filed out in an orderly fashion. The King rushed up to the winch that controlled the drawbridge and cranked it for all his worth.
King and fiddler leaned panting against the blessedly vertical wooden plane.
“Play me a mournful tune,” the King requested.
Just like in this excerpt, the king is almost always in the midst of some degree of chaos that he brought on himself.
The further I read into the book the more I began to like it. Several times, my daughter would ask what I was laughing at. It was in those moments that I began to realize how much I was enjoying this book.
At first, I thought the story was too silly and it just seemed ridiculous, but once I let my guard down and simply sat back to read, I realized just how humorous it was. Scott Bartlett is a very funny writer and I highly recommend this book.
Favorite Line: They had both grown so used to being lonely they accidentally spent the rest of their lives in perpetual appreciation of one another. - Page 191
Not one of the funnier lines, but it connected with me. It reminded me of myself and Red, minus the lonely part. I even called her immediately to read her this line.
Note: This book will do nothing to promote intellectual stimulation, but supplies lots of laughs to the reader just looking for a fun book. Do we really need to be stimulated all the time? Get your mind out of the gutters...you know what I mean. I was just trying to make a point and you always have to make it dirty. Take the statement for what it is.
Click here for Scott Bartlett's site and more information on his book.
If you drop by his site, please drop him a note to let him know you came there from here. He might have to buy me a car or a house or a giant or something.