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Free Lance: Free Lance and the Lake Of Skulls [Hardcover]

Paul Stewart , Chris Riddell
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: £9.99
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Book Description

17 July 2003 Free Lance (Book 5)

Free Lance is down on his luck and stuck in the Badlands. And as usual there is an oaf who wants to take him on. But that fight leads to a job offer which has enough gold attached to it to get him out of this hole: the local lord wants him to recover an enchanted crown from the middle of the lake of skulls. Of course he omits to tell Free Lance of the terrors that await. Full of drama and humour, this swashbuckling fantasy adventure introduces a marvellous new hero by two of the leading exponents of the genre with an action hero who is both charismatic and mysterious, and told in a laconic, Marlowesque first person narrative. Certain to be enjoyed by all readers of THE EDGE CHRONICLES and Terry Pratchett, and those aspiring to read them.

Part of a unique range of books aimed at 11+s that through innovative integration of text and illustration are also accessible to those with reading abilities of as young as 7.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Children's Books; 1st edition (17 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340874082
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340874080
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 13.6 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,233,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Owes a lot to Beowulf and more to pulp fiction: close scrapes with monsters and villains, wisecracks, double and triple crossings and plenty of Tarantinoid violence. The language has the easy clarity of a Paul Jennngs story with a similar wealth of episode ... The energy of Riddell's line drawings matches the hectic pace of the storytelling. One for the lads? All the females are villainous and most end up dead, so it should go down well amongst some of them at least. (Books for Keeps)

This is one knight who survives not just by being heroic - a pile of skulls is testimony to those who've tried this - but on his own wits. (Waterstones Books Quarterly)

Suitable for pupils of 11 years up ... written to appeal to less able readers ... Funny with a good line in irony ... There are some hefty examples of similes to appeal to the English teacher. The premise of the story and the settings are really clearly described and illustrated so that the reader willl have a good picture of the situations in his head. ... an engrossing story for this age group ... it is likely that having read this one readers will be looking for more. (School Librarian)

Raymond Chandler goes to Camelot ... Narrated in a hard-bitten, sardonic voice ... aimed at children of 10 upwards whose reading ability is some way behind their chronological age, but it could be equally enjoyed by word-savvy eight and nine-year-olds. (TES)

Book Description

The first in a series of stories about the fantastical adventures of a mercenary knight by the best-selling creators of THE EDGE CHRONICLES

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 Books in 1 14 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my 10yr old son ... he loved it. It is based in medieval times and aimed at his age group (or even slightly younger).Very good value for money.
Actually wanted to read this rather than play on computer!

You never seem to learn 'Free Lance's real name because the Herald can't be bother to listen to him.
This book contains 3 stories:1) Free Lance and the Lake of Skulls
2) Free Lance and the Field of Blood
3) Free Lance and the Dragon's Horde
Lovely witty descriptions and plenty of humor. Fun pictures too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fun for all ages 17 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My son is a Stewart/Riddell fan and tried to get me into the Deepwater Chronicles I couldn't but I loved these 3 tales of a wandering Knight.
He's known as Freelance because that is what he is. He battles other knights, dragons and witches in these entertaining tales.
.I'd recommend them as stories to be read to younger children as well as to be read all the way to adult
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun read ! 9 Sep 2004
By Avalon - Published on Amazon.com
Lake of Skulls is a quick read that would really appeal to boys who are not that into reading. It's full of odd illustrations from the bestselling author and illustrator of the Edge Chronicles. In this story we follow a free lance knight who calls himself Freelance, on his adventures traveling through the badlands to recover a magical crown from the Lake of Skulls. There are many fight scenes, won of course by Freelance and at times very Middle Ages graphic for me but sure to appeal to young boys.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story for younger readers 5 Feb 2005
By Janet L. Santini - Published on Amazon.com
I first was drawn to this book because my ten year old son read several of the Edge Chronicles' books and loved them. My eight year old son had the same response to the Knight's Story 1 - Lake of Skulls. In fact, I have never seen him take to a book like this story and believe me I have tried a lot of books. The illustrations are wonderful and appeal to the children without being gory. Hooray for a great job done by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell! Keep writing! Every mother loves to see their children read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting New Series 24 Sep 2004
By Erika Sorocco - Published on Amazon.com
Freelance, a knight and warrior who doesn't hold a steady job, but rather free lances his services to people as needed, is heading through the Badlands looking for work that will give him enough money for food and shelter during the cold winter months, when he meets up with an evil lord. The evil lord promises to give Freelance money, as well as food and board, if he retrieves a magical crown from the Lake of Skulls. Freelance thinks that the job will be a piece of cake, and heads out. However, once there, he encounters a group of evil hags with sharp teeth and even sharper scythes, who will do anything to protect the magical crown from falling into the wrong hands.

Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell's A KNIGHT'S STORY, is an interesting short novel that is sure to appeal to middle readers, especially males. The prose, by Paul Stewart, is engaging and interesting, and the illustrations by Chris Riddell, while a little strange, will keep the reader turning the pages until the very end. Overall, this was an interesting start to an enjoyable new series.

Erika Sorocco

Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!!!!! 7 Feb 2005
By Book Worm - Published on Amazon.com
I've just turned 13 and I think Freelance and the Lake of Skulls is a funny horror book which has the things to make it a good horror story, like an evil lord and a brave hero. It has an exciting plot. Another good book by Paul and Chris. Can't wait for book three, better get book two.
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent series 23 July 2009
By imma - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
the first book in "A Knight's Story" by Paul Stewart, illustrated by Chris Riddell. written in first person. Sir Knight is manipulated (but is he really) into making his way to The Lake of Skulls to retrieve a lost artifact.. Stewart's style of writing is sarcastic, realistic and extremely entertaining. his characters are colorful (which Riddell brings to life) written for a younger audience, just means they are meant to be entertaining.. writing for children is tricky.. have to hold their attention, they won't plow through a book like "grown-ups" will.

definitely recommend.
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