Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Michael J. Bowler - And The Children Shall Lead - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

The campaign to save California’s children was only the beginning. Now King Arthur and his Round Table of teenaged knights set their sights on fixing something even bigger – the entire country. How? By targeting America’s most sacred document – The Constitution.

Native American teens Kai and Dakota, despite harboring secrets of their own, join the team, and swear undying loyalty to Lance. They carry the hope of their people that the crusade will better the lives of Indian children, who are the most neglected by government. This new campaign will take the young people to The White House, the halls of Congress, and beyond in their quest to change the prevailing opinion that children are property, rather than human beings in their own right.

But an unseen nemesis stalks Lance and Arthur, and ratchets up the attacks on New Camelot, promising to kill them and destroy all that the king has put in place. Lance, Ricky, Kai, and Dakota become the enemy’s favorite targets, and barely escape with their lives on more than one occasion. Who is this mysterious stalker, and what is the motive for these attacks? Lance has no idea, especially since he’s never intentionally hurt anyone.

“You were right, little boy, death is coming for you, but slowly, and only after it takes out the people you love.” That chilling promise haunts Lance, but also strengthens his determination to protect the people he loves at all costs. Or die trying.

The Knight Cycle Continues…

My Review

Washington, D.C. The paranoid political climate. The stifling humidity. The game playing and jockeying for power. It's all here and then some, but shown through the eyes of an adolescent on his way toward amending the Constitution. Yeah, Lance Pendragon doesn't go to the Capitol just to sightsee, he has an agenda to push, too.

For a boy who's never been on an airplane before, he quickly rises through the ranks, dining with the President on his first night in town. The thing that made this such a neat twist is that the author, Michael J. Bowler, visited the White House in a similar fashion after being named the National Big Brother of the Year. It was a treat to feel what Bowler might have experienced when he stepped inside the White House as an honored guest, just like Lance does because he takes readers on a special journey, giving them an inside look into the corridors of power.

There's an overall sense that Bowler doesn't trust politicians much, and neither does Lance. They're a means to an end, impossible to bypass if the ultimate goal is to bring about beneficial change for the greatest number of people, and Lance wants children to have the same rights as adults, and he's not going to stop until he accomplishes that. He puts his celebrity factor to good use, bumping elbows with congressmen and Supreme Court justices in order to bring about a monumental shift in public thinking.

Bowler has fun taking readers around the city from the birds-eye view atop the Washington Monument to a solemn moment in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Lance experiences everything firsthand, much the way Bowler probably did. It's a great way to introduce teenage readers to such a pivotal place in American history by giving them a lesson on what goes on behind the scenes when it comes to passing legislation and instituting change. It's not easy. It requires the unrelenting focus of a select few, who are determined to see it through, no matter what the cost.

But things get really exciting when Lance and Ricky hop on their skateboards (per a psychic vision from Merlin) and hang on to the back of a D.C. bus while escaping a band of would-be assassins on motorcycles. The tension gets ramped up when a helicopter starts attacking them in the middle of Arlington National Cemetery and Lance is forced to perform some death-defying feats near JFK's gravesite in order to keep them alive.

This book has it all from high speed action to groundbreaking access to the wheelers and dealers who run the show. Bowler even tosses in an American government lesson along with the thrills and chills readers have come to expect from him. It's an interesting take on what would happen if Camelot really did converge with Washington and what the end result would look like. Bowler has a great eye, remembering every detail of his own trip and then imagining on the page what could've happened if Lance had accompanied him on his excursion. Overall, what an entertaining way to combine an author's real life experiences with those of a fictional character!


And The Children Shall Lead can be purchased at:
Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Prices/Formats: $4.99 ebook, $14.95 paperback
Pages: 302
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Release: September 25, 2014
Publisher: self-published
ISBN: 9780990306368
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author of seven novels––A Boy and His Dragon, A Matter of Time (Silver Medalist from Reader’s Favorite), and The Knight Cycle, comprised of five books: Children of the Knight (Gold Award Winner in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards), Running Through A Dark Place, There Is No Fear, And The Children Shall Lead, and Once Upon A Time In America.

His horror screenplay, “Healer,” was a Semi-Finalist, and his urban fantasy script, “Like A Hero,” was a Finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival and Screenplay Competition.

He grew up in San Rafael, California, and majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University. He went on to earn a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and another master's in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills.

He partnered with two friends as producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films, including “Fatal Images,” “Club Dead,” and “Things II,” the reviews of which are much more fun than the actual movies.

He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from English and Strength Training to Algebra, Biology, and Yearbook.

He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to eight different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a thirty-year volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, something that is sorely lacking in this state.

He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and 2000 National Big Brother of the Year. The “National” honor allowed he and three of his Little Brothers to visit the White House and meet the president in the Oval Office.

He is currently at work on a horror/suspense novel based on his screenplay, “Healer.”

Links to connect with Michael:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

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