Updated: Sep 16, 2021
ANTONY B. KOLENC
Age Range: 11/12 and up
An eleven-year-old boy awakes to find himself being nursed back to health at a Benedictine monastery with no memory of his past life or who he is or was. Given the name Xan by the kind and holy Brother Andrew, Xan begins to look for his parents or any past life that he might have lived and learned that bandits attacked him and his village was destroyed. With nowhere else to go, Xan returns to the monastery but quickly knows that not everything is as it seems. A shadowy figure walks in the dead of night, and disaster always seems to follow whenever he appears. As Xan continues to do whatever he can to learn about his past life and learn more about the holy ways of the monks, he decides to find out who the shadow is and why it's at the monastery.
Thank you so much Loyola Press for sending me a complimentary copy of Shadow in the Dark! I was happy to read and receive this book. My review of this book is entirely my own. Wow, I was not expecting to like Shadow in the Dark as much as I did! The whole story was intriguing, and I could not put it down until I learned who Xan was and who was the shadow in the dark. Xan loses his memory and is taken care of by Benedictine monks and, with the help of his new friend, Lucy, solves the mystery of the shadow, the raid of his village, becomes closer to God and learns why he lost his memory. I have always been interested in medieval times, and by reading Shadow in the Dark, I feel as if I took a quick stop to 12th century England and partook in a fantastic adventure.
The characters in Shadow in the Dark all felt so real to me that they could have been actual people living in medieval times. The writing was done so fantastically and captured me so much that I don't have any negatives about the book. I usually have a favorite character in every book that I read, but in this book, it was a tie between Xan and Lucy. Xan is still just a boy in this book, but his courage and ability to adapt to his surroundings are admirable, but like any real person, he has flaws and fears that he must overcome. When Xan learns who is responsible for most of the heartache that he has endured, he says he can never forgive him. Still, I believe that as the story continues to the next book, Xan will be confronted many times by this problem and will have to grow in his faith in God to overcome his grief. Lucy, Xans best friend staying with Benedictine nuns, is a perfect example of what I want to be more like. Throughout the whole book, she always put God first and drew her strength from Him. Lucy was in the chapel praying and growing closer to our Lord whenever she had the opportunity to do so.
The cover was well done, and I think it is so clever that there is a cross in place of the t in the title. I loved every point of the book and can't wait to read the next one. Shadow in the Dark is a fantastic adventure and mystery novel aimed at middle school boys, and even though I am neither of those things, I loved the book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great story!
Things to Mention: Xan was attacked by bandits and lost his memory. There is a brief talk about a monk who whipped his own back as a sacrifice for Jesus. People are hurt in fights, and there are some other minor acts of violence.
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More books in The Hardwood Mysteries:
More books by Antony B. Kolenc:
Catholic Teen Books Anthologies Series:
Treasures: Visible & Invisible (he was apart of this book in the series)
If you have read Shadow in the Dark, let me know in the comments below. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Do you have a book you want to be reviewed? Let me know, and I'll add it to my list! Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you're here.