'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Review: A King in Hiding

At eight years of age, Fahim becomes a kidnapping target in Bangladesh because he is good at chess: too good. In this world where being noticed puts your life in danger, Fahim’s father decides he must whisk his son to safety. This means leaving family, friends, everything behind. Indefinitely. Imagine being forced to flee your country because you are good at something!

Speaking only Bengali, Fahim and his father struggle to communicate their plight. They are constantly waiting—to hear if their visa is accepted, to find out where they must move next, for news of home.

Finding the next place to stay can be torturous when you don’t speak the local language.

Sometimes Fahim and his father have nowhere to stay. Sometimes they have nothing to eat. How do you keep hoping when everything around you tells you to give up?

Sophie Callennec’s writing delicately balances Fahim’s recollections with the observations of his French coach, Xavier Parmentier, who becomes a staunch supporter and protector.

A King in Hiding is intriguing, heart-wrenching and real. Through Fahim, we get to experience a little of what it is like to be a refugee, but we also learn of the power that comes from having a dream: a dream to be a chess champion.

A compelling read.

Title: A King in Hiding: How a child refugee became a World Chess Champion
Author: Fahim with Sophie Callennec and Xavier Parmentier
Publisher: Icon, $19.99 RRP
Publication Date: April 2015
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781848318281
For ages: 12+
Type: Young Adult