The king is dead

Benjamin Dean

Book - 2023

As the newly crowned first Black king of England, seventeen-year-old James faces intense media scrutiny and a blackmailer intent on disclosing his deepest secrets, including his sexuality and hidden relationship.

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Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Dean Benjamin Due Apr 21, 2024
Gay fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
Romance fiction
New York : Little, Brown and Company 2023.
Main Author
Benjamin Dean (author)
First U.S. edition
Item Description
Originally published in year 2022 by Simon & Schuster UK in the United Kingdom.
Physical Description
375 pages ; 22 cm
Ages 14+.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

In this wild ride of a mystery and social commentary, James assumes the role of king and all that it entails after the passing of his father. But being a monarch in the UK is different for James; he's the first Black king, and he has to keep his sexuality a secret. When his boyfriend goes missing and a spiteful tabloid begins hinting at stories only the royal family should know, James races to uncover the leaker and where his boyfriend went. Plenty of readers have royal fever, but Dean adds a new spin by exploring how the public would respond when the ruling monarch doesn't look like previous rulers. Exploring thinly veiled racism and a royal family that trades in secrets, the novel reveals the cracks in a family thrust into the limelight simply by virtue of a birthright. James is a character who will resonate with many readers as he is just finally beginning to discover himself while under immense pressure. With a fast-paced mystery and complex characters, Dean's timely novel will easily win readers over.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Closeted 17-year-old James becomes the U.K.'s first Black monarch following his white father's death in Dean's propulsive debut. To preserve his family's legacy and continue protecting his Black mother and younger twin brother from the media's vitriol, James feels like he must prove himself worthy of the crown, despite the fact that he knows the people will "sure as hell not want a Black teenager" as king. But the press is out for blood, analyzing his every move and looking for any perceived misstep to print in the tabloids, which further deteriorates his confidence and approval ratings. James's new station also jeopardizes his undisclosed relationship with white-cued 18-year-old palace intern Jonathan, a scenario that gets even worse when Jonathan goes missing and royal family secrets begin leaking to the press. With a possible spy in his midst, James must determine whom he can trust among the people he's known his entire life. Dean delivers a pulse-pounding thriller and searing romance that excels in its portrayal of James's struggle to balance vicious social politics, storied palace traditions, and vulnerable interpersonal conflict, all while shouldering the responsibility of an entire nation, making for a multilayered and unmissable read. Ages 14--up. Agent: Chloe Seager, Madeleine Milburn Literary. (July)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

When James' father dies, it's only the beginning of the troubles for the teen who would be king. At 17, the full weight of the crown now sits on the shoulders of James Albert Arthur Hampton, the United Kingdom's first Black monarch. James wars with feelings of being inadequate beside Eddie, his more likable brother, or less suited for the throne compared to Cassandra, his White cousin who's next in line. There's also the matter of his first, secret, love, Jonathan Kent, an 18-year-old Black palace intern. James reflects, "The world could barely cope with a Black king--they'd lose their heads if they knew he was gay too." When Jonathan disappears and the Daily Eye, a tabloid whose journalists closely mirror those writing for real British newspapers, begins running stories that reveal the royal family's darkest secrets, it's up to James to face their virulent actions and try to unravel betrayals that threaten his family's safety and well-being. James' progression as he grows in understanding whom he should trust within his innermost circle provides tumultuous internal and external conflict that is impossible to turn away from--especially when the potentially lethal impact of racism is succinctly and sadly presented as part of the overwhelming challenges unique to his role. All hail this royal debut that twists, turns, and revels in palace intrigue and deceit. (Thriller. 14-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.