Book Review: The King’s Fifth by Scott O’Dell (four stars)
“It is your duty to save souls,” Mendoza said. “It is mine to save lives. Our lives.”
Excellent historical fiction for young adults. O’Dell drops the reader into the periphery of a well-known historical event—Coronado’s exploration of the American southwest during the sixteenth century—and spins an engaging
But as the two men left the camp and went up the trail with the bags and implements loaded on a mule, I said to myself, “I shall never in this life see them again.”
Published in 1966. Historical fiction of this quality is now rare. O’Dell recognizes issues present in his narrative, but doesn’t derail the story by sermonizing. Current offerings tend to emphasize message over history.
“Let your manner be courteous. Do not forget that when there is no honey in the jar, it is wise to have some in the mouth.”
Good news for YA. I was taught history as history. Messages there but students had to figure it out, dig deeper, writing papers and class discussion.