A group of young adults find themselves in the midst of two secret orders: one which is pursuing them and will stop at nothing to get their hands on the hat and gloves of President Lincoln. But what is their evil goal, and can the kids help stop them?
“The League and the Lantern” is a novel that kids and teens will enjoy. History buffs will like it, too. The story centers on two secret organizations that have been around a long time and have been dueling since the Revolutionary War: one which is The Order of the Dark Lantern and the other is The League, which fights to protect freedom. Things really heated up between the two after the Civil War. One wants to encourage fear and hate, and the other wants to preserve and protect our great nation. Several kids, all with strong personalities, wind up in the middle of all the drama: Jake Herndon, who learns a powerful secret about his family line; Lucy, a martial arts expert; and TJ, who has an over-active imagination; as well as a character named Greg. The kids are chased and relentlessly pursued, and they also deal with a crash at a cave, having to travel unexpectedly, and trying to figure out if there is more to Uncle Gabe (Jake’s uncle) than meets the eye. Uncle Gabe adopted Jake and has a big secret to spill by story’s end.
The plot centers on the pursuit of Lincoln’s hat and gloves, with the remaining blood stains. What is the evil secret order after? Why are they after the Lincoln artifacts? Is it possible that John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s killer, is somehow involved? How could that be? Isn’t he dead? Jake soon learns that Lucy can take care of herself, as her martial arts background comes in handy. A lifeless body is found during the course of the story, and the kids wind up in Springfield Station, in the Land of Lincoln. Finances tighten up for the kids, who get down to their last four dollars at one point.
The kids are portrayed realistically in this story, as they kid each other and talk about “Star Wars” and other things they enjoy, like “The Princess Bride.” The story includes chase scenes, mysteries to solve, and a growing bond between the kids. The author uses a vivid imagination to mix a bit of history with fiction. He also uses a biblical quotation, from Mark 3, that Lincoln used in a speech, which says that a house divided will fall. The mysteries get darker before they become clearer. Is the character Artie really a guy named Ed Chase? How does “The Great Northwestern Conspiracy” play into the suspense? Can the Order of the Dark Lantern, which operates in the shadows, be defeated? How about Anarchus Kane, the ultimate villain of the Civil War period?
The book features some violent moments, but none of them are gratuitous. It is basically an adventure story with the kids being the main protagonists as they fight for truth and honor. It becomes a story of legacy, too. We are pleased to award this book our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for ages 12-plus. “The League and the Lantern” is an imaginative book that proves that even if history repeats itself, there are always a few surprises along the way.