This first book in the Chronicles of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo tells the story of the Red King from the well-loved Charlie Bone books. Timoken is born in a secret kingdom where everyone is happy and peaceful. His father is visited by the last of the forest jinn, who grants Timoken and his unborn sister some wonderful gifts, including a cloak made of the web of the last moon spider and a potion called an Alixer, which can keep him from growing old. However, gifts this powerful draw enemies, and when their peaceful kingdom is attacked, Timoken and his sister must set off to find a new kingdom to call home. Befriended by a camel, the children travel a long way for many years in search of a safe place to call home as they continue to hide from those that would steal their special gifts.
If you enjoyed the Charlie Bone series, you will definitely enjoy this "prequel" series about the boy who became the Red King. The Secret Kingdom (Lexile: 710; Interest Level: Grades 3-6) is also a good stand-alone adventure for lovers of fantasy. (224 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.