A fairy-tale journey of intrigue and romance that reimagines the classic Pied Piper story.
A plague of rats. A giant beast outside the village walls. A host of missing children. And one young woman determined to save her people.
In 1424 Hamlin, Katerina faces threats from all sides. An outbreak of rats has overtaken the village, a mysterious beast is on a killing rampage of the village’s children, and Katerina’s evil stepfather is a dark presence inside the walls of her own home. Katerina is determined to hunt and kill the Beast of Hamlin herself before more lives are lost.
When Steffan, the handsome but brash duke’s son, comes to town seeking glory and reward, Katerina decides he might be the ally she’s been looking for—even though the only gentle thing about him seems to be the sweet music he plays on his pipe. But there’s more to Steffan than she suspects, and she finds herself drawn to him despite her misgivings.
Together Katerina and Steffan must stop the enemy from stealing the children of Hamlin. But their interference might create an even worse fate for the entire village.
Praise for The Piper’s Pursuit
“The Piper’s Pursuit is a lovely tale of adventure, romance, and redemption. Kat and Steffan’s righteous quest will have you rooting them on until the very satisfying end!” —LORIE LANGDON, author of Olivia Twist and the DOON series
- Full length clean fairy tale reimagining
- Includes discussion questions for book clubs
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author and a Christy Award winner. Her first book, The Healer’s Apprentice, won the National Readers’ Choice Award for Best First Book in 2010, and The Merchant’s Daughter won the 2012 Carol Award. Melanie spends her time daydreaming, researching the most fascinating historical time periods, and writing stories at her home near Huntsville, Alabama, where she gathers dandelion greens for her two adorable guinea pigs between writing and editing her happily ever afters. Visit her online at MelanieDickerson.com; Facebook: MelanieDickersonBooks; Twitter: @MelanieAuthor.
Read an Excerpt
Summer of 1424, the town of Hamlin, in the German region of the Holy Roman Empire
Did Katerina dare to stay out hunting past dark? The sun was going down, casting long shadows as she skirted the forest on her right and an empty meadow on the left. At least the town gate was visible ahead.
She checked her crossbow, making sure the arrow was strung and ready. Her unruly brown hair was starting to come free from the leather tie taming it at the nape of her neck.
She picked up her pace as she passed a particularly dark section of the forest. She could easily imagine the giant wolf, or whatever the beast was that had killed so many, coming out of those dense trees and leaping at her. Would she have time to aim her crossbow before she fired? She would only get one shot.
She laid a hand on the long dagger she kept in the sheath on her belt. If she missed, she might have time to stab the animal before it attacked.
Were her ears playing tricks on her? Or was that a rustling sound coming from the trees?
She stopped and raised the crossbow. Her heart thumped hard against her chest, so hard she could barely breathe. If she died, what would happen to Mother?
It was probably just a rabbit. She kept the crossbow aimed at the dark trees while moving her feet slowly in the direction of town.
Something was shifting the shadows. The bushes were shaking. Leaves gave way.
Wait until you're certain you have the best shot possible. She willed her hands not to shake, holding the crossbow up to her eye to make sure she could aim quickly.
A figure stepped out.
A child stood staring blankly at her. Katerina lowered her crossbow to her side.
The breath rushed out of Katerina's chest. A child! How could a small child be alone outside the walls of town? Everyone knew the beast was killing men, women, and children out here. When she was able to draw in enough breath to speak, Katerina approached the child. "What are you doing out here, little one?"
The girl was filthy. Her face was nearly black with soot or dirt, Katerina couldn't tell which. Her hair was as tangled as a field mouse's nest. The child's wide blue eyes stared unwaveringly at Katerina's face.
"Mama. I want Mama." But her expression didn't change and she didn't move.
She must be one of the missing children that had been presumed killed and eaten by the Beast of Hamlin. Tears gathered behind Katerina's eyes. Thank You, God, for letting me find her. Katerina wanted to pick up the child and run for town. But that might frighten her.
Blinking back her tears, Kat asked, "What's your name?"
"How long have you been lost, Bridda?"
The child's expression didn't change and she didn't answer.
"Are there any other children with you?"
Bridda shook her head.
Katerina hung her crossbow over her shoulder and across her back, then walked toward Bridda until she was close enough to reach for her hand. She squatted in front of her. "Are you all right?"
The little girl lifted her hand slowly. It was as dirty as the rest of her. Katerina took it between hers and squeezed gently. The poor child just stared into her eyes.
"How old are you, Schätzchen?" Katerina used the term of endearment her own mother used for her. Kat's heart twisted at the tired, almost hopeless look in the little girl's eyes.
"Are you from Hamlin?"
"What is your father's name?"
Her expression held a tinge of confusion. Then her eyes lit up. It was as if a memory came to her, and she said, "Johannes."
A surge of breath rushed into Kat's chest. "Come. I'll take you to Hamlin and we'll see if we can find your father and mother." Katerina stood, still holding on to the girl's hand, and started walking, anxious to get the little girl safely out of the forest.
The little girl gazed up at her and tugged ever so slightly on her hand.
Katerina bent down. "What is it, Bridda?"
"Don't let him get me." Her voice was a whisper.
Katerina shivered, her gaze flicking back toward the trees. "Don't worry. I won't let the beast get you."
Katerina hurried toward Hamlin's town gate with the little girl's hand held firmly in hers. A minute later, Katerina noticed the poor child was walking slower and slower.
Katerina squatted. "May I carry you?"
The child looked her in the eye and nodded. Katerina put her arms around her and lifted her up, holding her snugly.
As they entered the town gate, Katerina spied a guard she knew, her friend Hans.
Hans saw her as well, and his mouth fell open. He started toward her.
"Hans, this is Bridda. I found her outside the wall. Do you know of a man named Johannes who's missing a six-year-old daughter?"
Hans stared at the girl from beneath thick brown hair that fell across his forehead. He breathed, "It's a miracle. How ..."
"Do you know her?"
"I know her father. Wait here. I'll go find him."
Hans started to leave, but Katerina put her hand on his arm to stop him. "Before you go ... how long has she been missing?"
"About five months."
Hans turned and started running.
Katerina stared at the tiny face next to hers. "Where have you been for five months?"
Bridda just stared back at her.
As they waited for Hans to return, Bridda's pale blue eyes started to look livelier, shedding the lost, stunned expression as she tentatively turned her head to look around her. Her gaze seemed to fix on certain points. Was she recognizing buildings, or maybe people? She also seemed to be watching the rats running through the streets. The plague of rats had descended on the town about the same time the beast had started its killing rampage. Katerina wondered, not for the first time, if the two things were related, though she couldn't imagine how.
So many questions were running through Katerina's head. How had this little girl avoided being killed by the beast while she was in the woods? And even stranger, how had she survived on her own for five months?
* * *
Hungry, dusty, and tired, Steffan was thankful when he came to a small village. He'd been wandering toward home since he'd left his brother Wolfgang and Wolfgang's new wife in Poland. A bed, no matter how lumpy, and a warm meal would be a welcome change after sleeping on the hard ground and eating anything he could kill or forage.
He spotted the village inn and went inside, even though he had no money for either food or a room.
The innkeeper was friendly, so while the man stroked his graying beard, Steffan said, "I am very good at playing the pipe. I could play for your patrons in exchange for a meal."
The innkeeper nodded. "You play for one hour, then my wife will serve you the finest stew in the Holy Roman Empire, then you play a bit more. Yes?"
Steffan had already extracted his pipe from his bag. He placed it against his lips and began to play.
Everyone in the room turned to face him, most of them smiling. By their looks, music was a rarity here.
When he had played about an hour, the innkeeper's wife brought him a tankard of ale, a bowl of mutton stew, and a slab of bread. He sat to eat, and the innkeeper joined him.
"You're not from nearby, are you?"
"I'm from Hagenheim originally, but I haven't been there in over a year."
"You may not have heard, then." The innkeeper leaned forward, fixing his eyes on Steffan's.
"Of the plague of rats that have been tormenting the town of Hamlin."
Hamlin was a town under his father's authority, in the region of Hagenheim. His oldest brother, Valten, was the Earl of Hamlin.
"I have heard tales of this plague of rats. I thought they might have only been the fanciful stories people invent to distract children."
"Indeed, they are not just fanciful stories. The plague of rats is real. I have seen it with my own eyes." The grizzled innkeeper lowered his voice. "But there is something else plaguing Hamlin, something more terrible than rats."
"What do you mean?" Steffan shoveled another bite of stew into his mouth. Truly, the innkeeper was not exaggerating overmuch when he'd said it was the best in the Holy Roman Empire.
"People are being taken, gone — more than sixty people, last I heard."
Steffan rested his wooden spoon on the side of his bowl and stared back at the man. Was he daft? An outrageous liar? Surely sixty people could not have simply gone missing from Hamlin.
"What do you think is happening to them?"
"They say a beast is dragging them off and eating them."
"A beast? What sort of beast?"
"No one knows exactly. Some think it could be a wolf, or a large dog gone wild."
"It would take a very large and vicious dog to kill a man, and wolves rarely kill people, especially in town. Is there proof?"
"Would the bodies of several half-eaten villagers be proof enough for you? A woman was found with her arm torn off, the rest of her body partially eaten, and her throat ... The poor woman's head was nearly separated from her body."
Steffan winced at the gruesome images his mind conjured up, familiar images of his time fighting in Poland. He had to blink hard to rid them from his thoughts and remember where he was.
"Has anyone actually seen the beast, or been attacked and lived to tell of it?"
"Ja, there have been two or three. One man was attacked on his way through his field outside Hamlin town. He said it looked like a giant wolf. The beast bit him on the ankle, but the man beat it with his walking stick until the animal let go. But the wound took on a putridness and the man died a few weeks later."
Not a good way to die. If only the poor man had had some of the healing salve Steffan's sister-in-law had given him.
"I have been traveling for a while and have not heard about this. All I've heard about are the rats."
"The mayor of Hamlin is my sister's brother-in-law's cousin," the innkeeper went on, his gaze shifting to the door as two men walked in and seated themselves, "and he does not want the news to be spread abroad."
"Why is that? Does he not want the creature captured or killed?" Steffan resumed his eating, taking a bite of stew then of bread.
"The mayor's lord is the Duke of Hagenheim, and the mayor is afraid of being held accountable for allowing the beast to kill so many people. He's offering a reward to anyone who will either kill or capture it, but no one has been able to find it. Or they are too afraid to go looking."
"A reward, you say?" Steffan leaned in, remembering the one silver guilder in the pouch on his belt — all the money he had.
"The mayor says he'll give one thousand silver guilders and his daughter's hand in marriage to the man who can kill the beast that's wreaking havoc and frightening the townspeople."
When the innkeeper said the words "a thousand silver guilders," Steffan's heart jumped into his throat. The money was a very enticing reward, though he was hardly anxious to marry a mayor's daughter he'd never seen before. Hamlin suddenly seemed a very interesting place.
"Has this creature come into town?"
"People believe so, because several children have been taken from inside the town walls. But often it's attacked those outside the town walls, people who farm small plots of land or have gone to visit families in the countryside."
Steffan listened to everything the innkeeper had to say about the Beast of Hamlin, but when he started to talk about other things, Steffan's mind wandered to what the man had told him about the reward.
He must kill this beast.
It was just the sort of noble feat that could bring him glory, get his name into a popular ballad sung by the troubadours and Minnesingers, or his likeness onto a church mural or stained glass window. The story would be told everywhere, including Hagenheim. Then he wouldn't be ashamed to go home again and face his father and mother.
For a year he'd been on a quest for adventure, treasure to discover, or any task that might earn him money — except what he had done in Poland, which was to fight and kill someone else's enemy. His most recent quest had been to save two pigs that had fallen into an old well, which he had accomplished after many hours of effort. His reward had been a hot meal and a bed to sleep in.
It seemed good deeds and money seldom went hand in hand. The last real coin he'd earned had been from playing his pipe in a harvest festival at least a month ago.
His family was very musical, as his father played the lute and most of his siblings sang and played various instruments. Steffan found his pipe useful for entertaining himself and his fellow soldiers. Now that he was traveling alone, it helped distract him when his thoughts wandered to unwanted places.
But if he could succeed in slaying this man-eating beast, his father would surely hear of it. Perhaps that would make up for all the bad things he had done. And perhaps then Steffan wouldn't feel as if he were the least of all his brothers — the one bad apple in the Gerstenberg family tree.
* * *
Katerina watched the townspeople hurrying home before dusk turned to night. No one seemed to notice her or the child in her arms who was covered in dust and grime.
Hans came running down the street toward them with a man by his side. The man's face was pinched and tense, almost as if he were in pain. His gaze landed on Bridda. He cried out and ran faster, pulling ahead of Hans.
He was crying when he reached them, his face twisted, as he reached out his hands toward her.
The child hesitated, but only for a moment. Her little hands extended, her eyes brightened, and she said, "Papa."
Bridda's father plucked her from Katerina's arms, clutching her tenderly to his chest. Sobs erupted from his throat, but he quickly pressed his lips together and held her out so he could look at her.
"Oh, my little Schätzchen. It is a miracle."
Tears welled up in Katerina's eyes at the joyful reunion. Her chest ached as she whispered, "Thank You, God."
The father was still gazing hungrily into her face. "Are you well? Are you hungry? Are you hurt?"
Bridda patted his cheeks with her little grimy fingers. He grabbed them and kissed them.
"She is home. I shall take you to her. Shall I?"
Bridda nodded, still keeping her eyes pinned on her father's face, as if he might disappear if she looked away.
He kissed her cheek. Then, over Bridda's head, his teary eyes met Katerina's. "I thank you, Fräulein. How did you find her?"
"I was outside the wall, just now. She simply walked out of the forest."
"I thank God, thank God. But where has she been?"
"I don't know. Hans"— Katerina motioned at the tall guard — "Will you walk with Johannes and Bridda back to their home?"
While Johannes was talking to his daughter, she leaned closer to Hans. "Come back and tell me where they live. And tell him I shall come to them tomorrow, to ask questions."
"Yes, Fräulein Katerina."
Katerina watched them leave and took a deep breath. Thank You, God. It truly was a miracle that the girl was found alive, but Katerina wondered again at the mystery of where she had been and how she had avoided being killed by the beast.
As she stood waiting for Hans to return, she noticed an unfamiliar man on horseback riding at a slow walk through the town gate. There was something about his face — relaxed and yet sharp- eyed — that caught her eye. He might also be considered quite good-looking, sitting tall in the saddle of his large warhorse, but when his gaze met hers, his expression changed and his lips curled upward. She would have sworn he was thinking, You find me handsome, don't you?
How she detested arrogant men.
She gave him her sternest look and turned away from him. Now that she thought about it, he wasn't so handsome after all. She preferred short dark hair and brown eyes, and his hair was long and blond, his eyes also a light color, probably blue or green. She couldn't tell from this distance. Not that she cared. She only hoped he was astute enough to understand she was not interested. But the clopping of his horse's hooves on the cobblestone street behind her grew louder. Still, she refused to turn around and look at him. She had no time to waste on this stranger. Her mind was on Bridda and solving the mystery of where she'd been for the last five months. Tomorrow she would question both the parents and Bridda, if the parents would allow it.
"If you please, Fräulein," a male voice said behind her.
Katerina turned to see the arrogant stranger sitting atop his horse, looking down on her.
She glared at him.
"I am in search of the Bürgermeister of Hamlin."
Katerina looked him over. Why did he want to speak to the mayor? This stranger did not wear the clothing of a nobleman. He could possibly be a knight, though he wore none of the trappings — no mail shirt or colors or quilted gambeson. But perhaps that could be attributed to the fact that the summer air this day had been so hot.
"This is Hamlin town, is it not?"
"It is." She studied him a moment longer. He did not have a vicious look, but one could never be too careful.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Piper's Pursuit"
Copyright © 2019 Melanie Dickerson.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I was immediately attached to this book due to the out of the box difference of story line compared to all of the books we read in this genre. From getting attacked by the Rat Beast and making a new friend that nobody would expect to be friends and then the Duke that is said to be the hero has personal issues himself that could interfere from saving the kingdom and quick reliability of Katerina and risk all that is at stake. The main reason why I really enjoyed this book was because it was new and different than the typical Christian Fiction plots that we are used to. Our teen demographic will also enjoy this book for the same reason. I know this genre is very popular at our library and I am curious to see how everyone in our community will respond to this book. We will consider adding this title to our YFiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
This book was engrossing right from the beginning; it just totally pulled me. in. I didn't expect that since the story of the Pied Piper isn't exactly one of my favorites, but this was so well written. I loved tough, defensive Katerina and her determination to help her town be rid of the beast and to find the missing children. I also loved Steffan, who is struggling with his past and looking for redemption. The plot moved along quickly and was really interesting, and I enjoyed seeing the characters' growth throughout the story. This was just a pleasure to read! 4.5 stars. I read an ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
In the tradition of Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale retellings, you will adore Katerina and Steffan. Even though this is written as a Young Adult romance, romantics of all ages will appreciate the creative take on the Pied Piper. Katerina and Steffan are determined to rise above the past that threatens to define them. They are driven to rescue, save and protect the people of Hamlin who had been lied to and stolen from by the evil mayor. Katerina is willing to fight, no matter the cost and Steffan is committed to never leaving her side. The outcome will warm your heart and leave you with smiles for the rest of the day. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are my own and freely given.
I jumped at the opportunity to read Melanie Dickerson's recently published book The Piper's Pursuit and I was not disappointed. I enjoy this series as there are strong characters, a clear delineation between good and evil, and they are Christian but not preachy. Several aspects of this book stand out. Often times, this genre tends to have strong female leads which I greatly enjoy, but sometimes the male characters are less than impressive. The Piper's Pursuit has equally strong male and female characters. This is important as it shows the wonderful things that happen when a relationship is seen as a partnership instead of just one person being the leader. The second aspect was that Dickerson did a marvelous job of depicting the hypocrisy of the town mayor who went out of his way to appear "Christian" but was actually anything but. This really helped to emphasize the idea that appearances can be deceiving. Melanie Dickerson writes for the YA crowd, but her books are enjoyable for all readers who enjoy a good, clean story that includes a lesson. I recommend them for moms and their junior high-early high school age daughters to read together or as read alouds for middle school students,
Oh how I adored this book! I managed to read it in two sittings -- it ate up one entire evening, in fact -- because I simply HAD to know how it ended. I am an avid fairy tale fantasy reader, and Melanie's titles have intrigued me for a while. I was concerned that stepping in on book #10 would leave me confused, but the story was easily appreciated as a standalone work. I could tell that there were references to other stories, but that did not detract in any way. This story was beautifully Christian and the weaving together of the Prodigal Son parable with the Pied Piper fairy tale was masterfully done and entirely original. The characters are both engaging and realistic, with as many weaknesses as strengths. Steffan and Katerina are well matched, and I loved watching their romance build as Katerina learned to trust him. Steffan's calm spirit is beautiful, and that says so much after all the darkness lurking in his past. His backstory gives hope to anyone struggling with past, seemingly insurmountable, ugliness. There was a fair amount of violence throughout the novel, but in a "Star Wars" way. You are fully aware that battles happen, and that injuries result from those exchanges, but she does not go into gratuitous detail. Language, of course, is a non-issue -- and chaste kisses are as close to blush factor as we get. One character struggles with emotional fallout from repeated inappropriate advances made at her during her young adulthood, but again - little detail is included and the author navigates the situation with care. Still, there could be a slight trigger factor for readers with similar experiences. I plan to re-read this wonderful book, but only after devouring the other nine! Can't wait to dive further into Hagenheim and meet more of Melanie's characters. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I have loved this series by Melanie Dickerson, but was a little hesitant about this book, simply because I’ve never cared for the Pied Piper story. I should have known, however, that this author can put a great spin on any fairytale, and I ended up very much enjoying this book. Although there’s some elements of the Pied Piper tale, this book focuses on Prince Steffan and his desire to reconcile with his family (especially his father) and become a person of whom they could be proud. I loved the elements of the Biblical account of “The Prodigal Son” and watching Steffan become a man of great character. The author brought the combination of both” Piper” and “Prodigal” together perfectly, and made for an exciting story. Katerina is an excellent heroine in this story. She’s intelligent, brave, loyal, compassionate—and beautiful. It’s no wonder that Steffan falls in love with her, and seeks to help Katerina realize she can trust him. The two go through harrowing experiences together before they find their happily-ever-after. This is an entertaining clean and sweet story. You can easily read this book as a stand alone story, but if you have been following the series, you’ll especially enjoy Prince Steffan’s storyline. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
A fascinating adventure! My rating is 4.5 stars I have been so hooked on Melanie Dickerson's books since the first one I read! She does such a fantastic job of blending historical settings, fairy tales, and faith into a beautiful work that encourages, teaches, and entertains in The Piper's Pursuit. This story is, as you might have guessed, a retelling of the legend, The Pied Piper. Continuing the account of the Duke of Hagenheim's family, Steffan now gets his story told. Steffan has changed so much since The Warrior Maiden. Which is such a good thing - he was pretty awful. Now he thinks he needs to redeem himself, performing enough good deeds to somehow undo the bad. Katarina was determined to free her village of the beast who terrorized it. When saddled with the arrogant, yet handsome, duke's son to help her in this quest, she never expected things to turn out as they did! She had to learn to trust and not attempt to do everything by herself. I love the clear manner in which the Gospel was presented. Forgiveness, redemption is not earned. We can't undo the wrongs we have done and can't do enough good to erase them. Forgiveness comes only through God's son, who sacrificed His life for our salvation. The more serious topics of addiction and abuse are broached in this tale, yet in a sensitive manner and without too much detail. Readers who enjoy adventure and romance will want to be sure to read The Piper's Pursuit. While part of a series, it is a fantastic story on its own. Read my review of The Piper's Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson at AmongTheReads.net I was given a copy of this book. I was not required to give a favorable review nor was any money received for this review. All comments and opinions are my own.
I have enjoyed these fairy tale retellings that Melanie Dickerson puts a new twist upon for adult readers. This one based on the Pied Piper of Hamlin along with a connection to the story of the Prodigal Son was my favorite so far. Katerina is a strong young woman who cares deeply for her town and its people. She has a wicked stepfather who has educated her and trained her in the use of sword and longbow just to show her off in public; but behind closed doors, he berates and threatens her. Children are missing and a large beast has killed several people and the town is overrun by rats. Steffan is the youngest son of the Duke Of Hagenheim, but he has spent the past years running wild. Now he's heading home, but his attitude and guilt over the things he has done still haunt him. This story was filled with the normal fairy tale characters both good and evil; and generally, is the typical fairy tale that shows good winning over evil. But Dickerson added descriptive scenes with fleshed-out characters that made this book a very enjoyable read as well as a well written Christian theme. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.
Melanie's books never cease to amaze me. Her ability to bring my favorite fairy tales to life in a beautiful and pure way just makes my heart soar. In The Piper's Pursuit, Katerina's goal is to keep her people safe. Especially from her evil step-father. Marinated in lies and bathed in deception...the town of Hamlin is under the thumb of the mayor, Henneck. I so love Kat's heart. She is protective and kind, she has her people's best interest as her priority and defeating the beast of Hamlin to keep her people safe. And then...Steffan of Hagenheim had the audacity to show up on her door! Although it's a good thing he did. This story is riddled with danger and adventure. From fighting the beast, fleeing Henneck and his guards, protecting children, and freeing a city...Kat and Steffan will take you on a journey as they pursue truth, freedom, and love. TRIGGER WARNING: There are a couple of elements in this story that deals with small children being treated very poorly and being hurt. I had to skim a couple of these scenes because it was causing some anxiety. It isn't graphic or anything, but I have a really hard time reading anything about kids being hurt. I received a complimentary copy of The Piper's Pursuit from the publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
I really enjoyed seeing Steffan's path to redemption and getting to know Katerina- these characters really came to life as they worked together to solve the mystery of the beast and the disappearing townspeople and children. Katerina is complex, with major trust issues and a defensive exterior, while inside she is full of compassion for those being abused and willing to fight for them. We see Steffan's rebellious nature in The Warrior Maiden, but in this book we begin to understand where his head was and why he made the choices he did. I liked him much better as he seeks to become a better man and realizes the folly of his past. There is plenty of suspense and action, and the romantic tension slowly grows as Steffan proves himself worthy of Katerina's trust. I wish I could have envisioned the setting better, and would have loved more description of the town especially. Overall, an exciting and satisfying escape into this creative retelling of The Pied Piper. (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
Katerina is hunting the beast that is killing people in her village when she stumbles on a little girl who she thinks has been missing. Heading back to town with the girl, she discovers who she belongs to at the same time Steffan comes through the gate looking for the mayor’s house. She doesn’t tell him who she is, but does take him there. This begins the adventure of Steffan trying to gain her trust and both of them trying to figure out what is going on in Hamlin. A wonderful story that draws you right in and is hard to put down. The mystery of the rats, and the missing children, along with getting to know Katerina and Steffan, seeing Duke Wilhelm and Rose are all part of this story’s intrigue. A great addition to this series of stories featuring Hagenheim’s leading family. A complimentary copy was provided by Thomas Nelson via Net Galley. A review was not required and all thoughts are my own.
There is a reason Melanie Dickerson is one of my most favorite authors, it's because she writes stories I can NOT put down. As evidenced by the fact I read this one in less than 12 hours, this story is another winner from Melanie! From romance, humor, mystery and many suspenseful moments, this story has them all in spades. It was a treat to finally get Steffan's story and to see him finally "grow up." Katerina is a perfect match for him in every way. The mystery of the missing children and the "beast" had me devouring this book to find out what was going to happen. The ending was perfect with even a twist or two that surprised me. If you like Fairy Tale stories, or great stories in general, check this one out. I highly recommend it! I read an early ARC copy of this provided by the author. All thoughts expressed are my own.
A new favorite adventure from the exciting Hagenheim series! A sequel to the previous book, The Warrior Maiden, but with a bit of recap, it can be read as a stand alone. A wounded, repentant warrior, Steffan is finally on his way home from a war he regrets fighting. His determination to redeem himself lands him right in the middle of another battle, but this one is worth the risk. Katerina is a brave, determined warrior type also, tirelessly working to rid the town of dangers that threaten the people. She and Steffan have some fun banter after the sparks fly, and she learns to trust him. Her faith becomes stronger as the intensity of the peril increases, and her character grows in depth. I liked seeing her rough edges get sanded off as the story progressed. Loved how the gospel message is threaded in while Steffan realizes his need for forgiveness and mercy from his parents and God. Their reconciliation is a particularly touching part of the story. He and 'Kat' go through some serious trouble to fight the evil preying on the town, particularly on the children. They are a great pair. Plenty of action and adventure keeps the story moving at a brisk pace. This would make a terrific movie! Some mature subject matter makes this a better read for older teens. Overall an excellent read! Recommend! (An ebook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.)
You aren't worthy because of what you've done, son. Because no one can ever do enough to be truly worthy. You're worthy because God gave His Son to make us worthy.' I recall vividly my mama reading bible stories and fairy tales to my little brother and me as we were growing up. I have never stopped loving fairy tales. And Melanie Dickerson has a way of taking an old fairy tale, breathing new life into it and turning it into a wonderfully fresh and new fairy tale which honors God! I love her work. I have always loved the Pied Piper of Hamlin story and she does wonders with this one! I was captivated from the very beginning and read it in one day. Highly recommended. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through Net Galley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
THE PIPER'S PURSUIT is a historical fiction that retells the story of the Pied Piper. However, this is a book in its own right, and I read it without knowing this connection, and I enjoyed it as a unique idea. Katerina is the mayor's stepdaughter, and she cares deeply for the people of the town. Children are disappearing, and bodies of adults are being found eaten by the beast who lurks just outside of town. When Katerina finds one of the children on her quest to kill this beast, she begins to think more about the stories her stepfather, the mayor, is spreading. Perhaps something larger and more sinister is happening to their town. When a handsome stranger, Steffan, comes to claim the reward for killing the beast that her stepfather has offered (money and her hand in marriage), she continues to do everything she can to stop the killings and the disappearing children- even as Steffan gets underfoot. Steffan left home on bad terms, but he has turned his life around. He needs the money offered, though he doesn't care so much about having a wife, in order to make a better return home someday. However, when he arrives at the town, he cares more about Katerina and getting to the truth of what is going on at her side than he does about the money. As they investigate, darker truths will come to light. This was an engaging and steadily paced read. There are strong Christian inclusions (prayer, confession, prodigal son retelling) that compliment the plot. The romance was sweet, and it was easy to cheer for the two after they get to know each other. As a small warning, I would also add that there is implied past sexual assault of Katerina, though this just alluded to and not described, as well as the kidnapping of children, mistreatment of children, and some animal abuse. Overall, this was an engaging and interesting read that makes me curious to read the other books in this series! I would recommend for fans of historical Christian fiction. Please note that I received an ARC. All opinions are my own.
(4.5 stars) – an exciting twist on the classic fairytale PTSD/PARENTAL WARNING ***Though not graphic, this story does contain a threatened rape scene*** The book has a very beautiful, eye-catching cover that did a great job grabbing my attention! Katerina is trying to save her town and Steffan is trying to reclaim his honor. Things are not as they seem though. Kat’s stepfather says he’s a Christian but he’s not. He’s actually pretty cruel, and she wants very much to get away from him. Kat and Steffan don’t get along so well at first, but they eventually learn to work together as a team. They also learn about trusting in God, forgiveness and mercy. There’s a lot of action and suspense, which was good, but I liked the romance and wouldn’t have minded a little more of it. Ironically, the rats seemed secondary, almost like an add-on to the story in order to tie it to the original tale. There were a few surprising twists and a few not so surprising. All in all, it made for an entertaining read! This was my first book by this author and I enjoyed it so much that I am looking forward to exploring the rest of her works. *Clean romance level: sweet kisses *Religion: Christian and natural to the story
The Piper’s Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson lands as book ten in her Hagenheim series, but reads fine as a stand-alone novel. I did enjoy the little mentions of Wolfgang and Mulan from The Warrior Maiden, plus cameos of Duke Wilhelm and Rose, the original couple featured in The Healer’s Apprentice. The Piper’s Pursuit entertains as it creatively retells the Pied Piper tale. Replete with danger and suspense, I found the story engaging in spite of a few predictable moments. Themes of gender equality and the necessity of confronting evil added depth to the story. Wrapping around those themes is a sensitivity to abuse victims that plays out in Katerina’s trust issues. I appreciated the author’s portrayal of Katerina as a strong and wise young woman in spite of past oppression. The suspense and embedded themes shine equally well in this novel while a sweet romance grows between Katerina and Steffan. Readers who enjoy Young Adult fairy tale retellings will probably like The Piper’s Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson. In keeping with its YA branding, the romance is very clean and the prose had that YA feel where it’s not deeply beautiful, but it’s entertaining. The Piper’s Pursuit was an easy, fast read for me that has a permanent home on my bookcase. 3.5 stars! Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
When Steffen traves to Hamlin and learns of the beast terrorizing the people, he knows that he must stop it. Unfortionaly, to do that, he must work with Kat, the daughter of the mayor. They start hunting the beast and learn more than they could ever imagine, resulting in their lives being in danger. Oh boy, so much of this book was phenomenal and I'm not quite sure where to start. The plot was so intriguing that I could not put this book down, choosing to read it in one sitting instead. Everything about the plot and characters seemed more real than the previous books in the series. The characters struggled with forgiveness, their pasts, and what God has to say about that. However, the writing seemed a lot more similar to Dina L. Sleiman's fairy-tale retellings as opposed to Melanie's typical book. Overall, this was the best Dickerson book that I've read yet and I'd recommend it to anyone who appreciates a clean fairy-tale. Rating: 5 Stars Content: 5 Stars *I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. All thoughts are my own and a positive review was not required.