I am delighted to share my review for Archie and the Enchanter by Alexander Weir. My thanks to Publishing Push and Alexander for getting in touch and sending me an e-copy of this fabulous childrens book.
Let me show you what it is all about…
This is for 8 – 12 year olds.
It takes place on Scotland’s wild West Coast where Archie discovers an ancient and supernatural set of bagpipes.
The magical bagpipes do impossible things. The music it makes is powerful.
Through its music, history begins to change.
It’s not the bagpipes but the chanter that is supernatural (the chanter is the part of the bagpipe that the piper uses to make music).
The chanter is probably more than 1,500 years old and yet looks brand new.
The name ‘chanter’ comes from the word ‘enchanter’ – and ‘enchant’ is what it does. The origins of the enchanter are shrouded in mystery. It disappeared before the Jacobite risings of 1715 and 1745. Perhaps the Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie, would have won through if the Enchanter had been around.
Then our hero, a scruffy little boy called Archie, found it, and this book is about what happened next.
Let me also share the introduction to this magical story…
Archie and the Enchanter – Introduction
‘No one knows where it came from. It was found in a heathery glen by a shepherd tending his sheep. The shepherd was keeping a wary eye on the horizon for Viking raiders and for a moment looked down. And there it was shining silvery at his feet.
What it could and would do was a constant source of amazement. It didn’t seem to age, and despite the passage of the centuries it always looked as shiny and new as it had been when it was found. It became a treasured possession of one of the Highland clans. Its ownership was kept a closely guarded secret although the Royal Stuarts knew about it and called upon it to be used in their quest for power.
Then it was lost. Everyone in the clan searched, but no one found it. The chanter entirely disappeared during Scotland’s troubled times at the close of the seventeenth century.
Who knows how the conflict at Culloden would have turned out if it had been there.’
This is a wonderful story to read and I can see it being a real hit with the age group it is aimed at.
Archie is a wonderful character and one that seems to get himself into mischief without trying, I say mischief but what I actually mean is gets dirty, ruins his clothes and just seems to attract dirt from wherever he goes, much to his mums annoyance. Archie goes to visit his Grandfather and while Grandfather is asleep Archie goes exploring and comes across a very old set of bagpipes, as Archie already plays this instrument he is immediately interested.
Archie finding the old bagpipes is just the start of the story really, as the story then changes tempo as Archie discovers what the pipes can do. What follows is a wonderful tale that not only delves into a little Scottish history, but also gives some facts about bagpipes and of course what Archie gets up to.
The bagpipes have a wonderful magical quality that has quite an impact on the small Scottish Community where Archie lives. The story also has a moral.
Archie is a wonderful character who I really liked, along with a few of the other people who I briefly met. The author has done a really good job of creating an exciting story and at the same time adding little snippets of information that help me learn something as I read.
The setting descriptions were good, enough to get a sense of place but not too much to take away from the story for a younger reader. It has excitement, magic and quite a few chuckle moments in it to keep you entertained, well it did me!
This is the first in a planned series and it is a great introduction, I got to meet Archie, his family and some of the local community. This is a really good start to the series and I think the age group of 8-12 years feels about right, though I think 8-10 is more appropriate.
It is a story that has a older feel to it, by this I mean it is not full of modern technology so maybe I mean more of a whimsical classic children’s’ style to it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I think children will enjoy it, I did and I would recommend it.
For Further Reading
If you head over to the Publishing Push Blog Site there is a great article that gives you a chance to read an excerpt of Archie and the Enchanter, there are also some really interesting facts and info there as well. You can follow the link HERE
You can order a copy of the book from Amazon
Alexander Weir is married, with two children together with his wife, and three dynamic go-ahead grandchildren. He lives in a small community in a remote part of Scotland’s Argyll Coast. As part of the community, he teaches art to the children in the community home school and, come evening time, they join him in the family room for ‘story time’. The imagination of the children has been captured in this tale, and author Alexander and his family, are keen to see Archie’s escapades being enjoyed by other children of similar ages too.
He has serialised both books and have been read on Argyll FM radio and covering Ulster, with an outreach across Kintyre, Knapdale, and Northern Ireland. In addition, he has introduced the books to children in Canada and Ireland – and received an enthusiastic response. Alexander is also the Editor of a quarterly Scottish Fellowship of Christian Writers literary magazine, called ‘WordWise’.
Alexander gained his MSc from London South Bank University, and has worked a varied career from Railway Manager, to Missionary, Vice Chairman of Savanne Winery in Tbilisi (Georgia), and Company Secretary, General Manager and Director for two London-based companies. He retired from Business Life in London in 2012.
His writing has not only focused on children’s historical fantasy. Alexander is also author of a peer reviewed medical research paper, and of two theological books, ‘A Question of Time’ and ‘A Question of Identity’.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx