The Old Man and the Princess
Would you believe a strange old man if he kidnapped you off the streets and told you that you and your dead parents were from another planet?
Is the old man, really, who he says he is? And is he telling Sersha the truth about who she is and where she is truly from?
An eccentric old Irish man, who claims to be ‘not of this Earth,’ kidnaps Sersha, a young, headstrong, Irish foster girl, from the streets of Galway and tries to convince her that her life’s destiny is tied to a mystical cave in the Scottish highlands.
But with strange and suspicious, underworld figures, violently on their trail, Sersha, struggles back and forth with the old man’s real identity and his far fetched intentions to whether he truly is genuine in his wild and fantastical beliefs. Or is he really just some mad and demented, old fool, having a mental breakdown in his twilight years.
Uncaged Review: Warning: This book was written in the Irish vernacular. For US buyers, be prepared for the unusual spelling and lilting language of the Irish.
With that said, this was a book which kept you guessing as to who was telling the truth until the very last chapters. It opens with the old man dreaming, seeing a father and son on the beach where the father is reading to the son, but he is unable to remember the title of the book. When it comes time to leave, the boy runs away from the father to a spot where he can see this mysterious cave before going back to the real world.
The next scene has the old man believing his life has been too long. He is in a secluded log cabin on the shore, dress in a black flea market suit, smoking a cigar, an old dog lying in the corner. It takes him a few minutes to recognize the old dog as he muses on the expected person(s) to come for him.
An intruder makes a scuffling noise as he comes up behind to old man before raising a gun to the back of his head. The old man lets the intruder know he heard him and goes to take a last puff on his cigar. When the gun clicks, the old dog barks, then attacks. The intruder kills the dog, angering the old man who attacks the surprised young man, beating him unconscious. After burying his dog, he stuffs the assassin into the boot of his auto and takes off, aware he will never return to the cabin.
Sersha is a teenager who is attempting to get a spot on a dance team. She is living with a set of foster parents. She is street wise and comes across has brash and hard. When the old man kidnaps her, she verbally shows her anger, even when he calls her Princess. He tells her she is a Princess from another world and he is taking her there to be with her real parents where she will rule her kingdom.
This is a case where the Stockholm syndrome is shown by how Sersha comes to care for the old man as he convinces her of needing to go to Scotland to get her home to her kingdom.
With that said, I’ll not give you any of the other twists and turns of the plot of this book. You go from laughter to tears, to fear during their journey. You aren’t sure as to the truth for Sersha or the old man until the end of the book.
Once you get the cadence of the speech, you can’t put it down, wondering if this is sci-fi or reality with a twist. I’m not telling which it is, you’ll have to read the book. The only other warning is for the violence in the book. This book would not be suitable for tweens and younger. Most teens will have seen worse on TV and video games.
It is an enticing story and one I’d recommend for those who like suspense with a good twist.
Reviewed by Barbara
4 1/2 Stars