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The revenge of the Shadow King
Derek Benz and J. S. Lewis
Children's Fiction BENZ

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Collectible card game mania drives this first entry in the Grey Griffins fantasy series. Eleven-year-old Max and his three friends constitute a tight-knit club called the Grey Griffins, with an enthusiasm for a card game called Round Table. When a Slayer goblin, a villain from the game, appears to Max and attacks him, he flees and, in the process, discovers a hidden room filled with books. One of the volumes turns out to be the Codex Spiritus, which holds "perhaps one of the greatest secrets the world has ever known." By opening the book, Max unleashes a spriggan, a mischievous shape-shifting creature?and soon other characters from the game begin to appear in the real world, leading to a battle with Morgan LaFey and the Shadow King. One of the more interesting characters is Iver, an odd fellow who owns the antique shop where they play Round Table, and who clearly knows more about what is going on with Max and the book. A mysterious connection between Iver and Max's grandfather adds a note of mystery to a tale that otherwise focuses on action. The authors borrow from both Arthurian legend and faerie lore to build their setting; though it can feel jumbled and incoherent at times, the backdrop exudes its own childlike enchantment, much like the card game at the story's center. Ages 9-12. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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main characters Max
Plays a rare fantasy card game with his friends; finds a magical book; has magical powers.

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