Inspired by the A to Z Blogging Challenge this past April, I have decided to blog about books for the month of June. I will be sharing tidbits about my own books and the other books on the Catholic Teen Books website.
Can’t afford a vacation this year? You are in luck! With Susan Peek’s latest release, The King’s Prey, you can take a trip back in time to the 7th century, and to Ireland! In addition to the heart-pounding action and lovable characters in this book, you will find beautiful setting details that will transport you into the story. Be prepared to hit the ground running!
About the Book:
An insane king. His fleeing daughter. Estranged brothers, with a scarred past, risking everything to save her from a fate worse than death. Toss in a holy priest and a lovable wolfhound, and get ready for a wild race across Ireland. Will Dymphna escape her deranged father and his sinful desires?
For the first time ever, the story of Saint Dymphna is brought to life in this dramatic novel for adults and older teens. With raw adventure, gripping action, and even humor in the midst of dark mental turmoil, Susan Peek’s newest novel will introduce you to a saint you will love forever! Teenage girls will see that Dymphna was just like them, a real girl, while young men will thrill at the heart-stopping danger and meet heroes they can easily relate to. If ever a Heavenly friend was needed in these times of widespread depression and emotional instability, this forgotten Irish saint is it!
I asked author Susan Peek why she chose this saint to write about:
I first heard of Saint Dymphna, the patron saint of the emotionally disturbed, thirty years ago, long before I was a published author. The few known facts of this seventh-century teenage Irish princess who fled from her insane father took three measly pages in a tiny staple-bound pamphlet to tell. Apparently, almost nothing was known about her, apart from the fact that her evil, psychopathic dad desired her hand in marriage, forcing Dymphna to escape the castle and flee with three trusted friends. The king’s soldiers pursued them relentlessly across Ireland, and eventually beyond the sea. Although the tiny pamphlet didn’t tell any details of their desperate journey, I knew there must have been many wild adventures and near-death escapades for Dymphna and her companions along the way. Even three decades ago I possessed an author’s imagination and instantly recognized the potential this story had for one heckuva cool novel.
I searched high and low for more information about Saint Dymphna, but all I could find were those same few facts over and over again. By this time, my first two teen novels had been published, so my mind naturally turned to the story of Saint Dymphna as a potential third book. I realized that in order to write her story, I would be forced to fill in the huge gaps with fictional characters and events. In a sense, THE KING’S PREY would be my first stab at “fiction” which worried me. I put the challenge off and wrote SAINT MAGNUS THE LAST VIKING instead. But the idea of Saint Dymphna continued to haunt me. After fifteen years of procrastinating and experimenting, I finally wrote it . . . and admit I had a blast.
For some reason my writing gravitates more towards stories for boys rather than for girls. Don’t ask me why; perhaps it has something to do with having six wild and rowdy (and totally awesome) sons, who turn my hair a shade grayer each passing day (as opposed to my equally awesome but calm five daughters.) THE KING’S PREY is my first female saint story, but actually Dymphna shares the spotlight with the character of Turlough, one of her father’s soldiers who is pursuing them, but for reasons at odds with the rest of the troops. Turlough is the story’s hero as much as Dymphna is the heroine. Many readers have told me that because of this, it appeals equally to boys and girls.
I discovered this saint years ago when praying for someone with mental illness, and I am so glad to be able to get to know her better through Susan Peek’s story. THE KING’S PREY is filled with emotionally-charged moments, humor, and high action; never a dull moment. Dymphna’s story is a difficult one. Her mother was a Christian and taught her the faith, but her father was a powerful pagan king with evil Druid advisors. Once Dymphna’s mother died, her father’s mental health deteriorated. He wanted his wife back and his confused mind saw her in his daughter. The teenage Dymphna, wanting nothing to do with a sinful arrangement—though it would provide all the comforts of life a king could offer—fled with the saintly Father Gerebran and others that you will meet in this story.
This story brings the ugliness of evil and sin (in the King’s actions and his Druid advisors) up against the beauty of faithfulness, self-sacrifice, and bearing all for the kingdom of God.
I am a fan of Susan Peek’s saint stories. And so are my boys. Every one of them touches my heart and increases my devotion to the saints. I am thankful that she has dedicated herself to bringing these little-known saints to life for us. St. Dymphna is so needed today as a role model for purity and an intercessor for all those who suffer from mental illness. Privileged to read an advanced copy of this book, I highly recommend it to teens and adults.
Visit Susan Peek and learn more about her and her books:
Thanks for stopping by my blog! Have you stumbled upon a favorite book this summer? Tell me about it in the comments. Feel free to share a link.