A century before Heather and Picket’s adventures in The Green Ember, a displaced community fights for hope on the ragged edge of survival.
My place beside you
My blood for yours
Till the Green Ember rises
Or the end of the world.
Whitson Mariner and Fleck Blackstar face old fears and new enemies, forging a legend that will echo through the ages.
Old wars haunt. New enemies threaten. An oath is born.
A hero rises.
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Praise for The Black Star of Kingston
“For readers who loved The Green Ember, well—you’re in luck. S. D. Smith has done it again. The Black Star of Kingston is a book I’ll be shouting about from the rooftops for a long time coming. Jam-packed with harrowing adventure, startling courage, and the luscious vocabulary we all love in Smith’s stories, Black Star will not disappoint!”
Sarah Mackenzie, host of the Read-Aloud Revival podcast, author of Teaching From Rest
“What a rollicking good story this is. Yes, it’s a children’s story, but it stirs the blood and makes you want to take sword in had to fight alongside the characters in the story. The Black Star of Kingston is not only a children’s book; it is a book to be read by adults to children—for the benefit of both.”
Glynn Young, poet and author of Dancing Priest and A Light Shining
“I loved this book! A much shorter preamble to the beautiful and poignant book, The Green Ember, this is a true high adventure with great characters, suspense, monsters and chilling bravery. A really wonderful treasure.”
Ken Priebe, author of Gnomes of the Cheese Forest (forthcoming)
“Excellent. I love how the characters develop and how quickly you become attached to them. I enjoyed this book for my own sake, but even more so for the sake of my kids. This is the sort of work that stirs their souls to love a good story, and to live a good story.”
Scott James, author of Mission Accomplished and The Expected One
“If your kids like swashbuckling adventure, they’ll love this book. The characters are great and the story is true to S. D. Smith’s tag line, ‘New Stories with an Old Soul.’ I enjoyed getting to know the new cast in this fantastic story! Zach Franzen’s illustrations were excellent additions in this regard. It’s a good, clean, exciting read for the whole family. When it comes to books about talking animals it would seem that a new author has successfully taken up the mantle.”
Tyler Bramwell, author of The Gift and the Defender
“Long, long ago, before Heather and Picket, there was King Whitson and Fleck. Their adventure fills the pages of this slender book with so much excitement and tension that I found myself perched on a folding chair during the few minutes between art classes, frantically snacking with one hand and turning pages with the other. Though I cannot put my finger on exactly why, there was something about this book that I liked even better than The Green Ember. The characters are more mature, the story’s pace is satisfyingly quick (but not too quick), and the action—oh, the action! SD Smith writes it so well that I’m not tempted (as I’m usually tempted) to skim the fight scenes until the story picks up again.”
Thea Rosenburg, Little Book Big Story
“The Black Star of Kingston is the first in an expected series of books called ‘The Tales of Old Natalia.’ More novella than novel, it is shorter than The Green Ember, but it is not any less enticing. It takes place a century before the characters in The Green Ember come onto the scene, and you learn essential information about who they are, where they come from, and what they are fighting for. The main character is an ordinary rabbit with no particular recommendation on his character or ability, yet he is called on to try and save king and country in order to preserve a heritage, protect a legacy, and help to create a stability that can last for generations. Like The Green Ember, The Black Star of Kingston is filled with memorable, courageous, and sometimes frightening characters. It is full of all of the elements you would expect in a “new story with an old soul,” such as courage, honor, friendship, loyalty, and of course, truth, goodness, and beauty. It is a hero tale, where the stakes are high and victories are not without losses. And it is a rollicking good adventure story that keeps the reader on the edge of the seat.”
Jaime Showmaker, Plumfield and Paideia
“A lively prequel to The Green Ember with elements of courage, honesty, honor, friendship, and loyalty – all the right ingredients for a story. It’s more of a novella than a full novel, but it sets the stage well and is a fun read.”
Barnabas Piper, author of Help My Unbelief
“I read this aloud to my son. We were supposed to go outside, but he wanted me to read Blackstar. We were supposed to play board games, but he wanted me to read more Blackstar. He asked how long the dishes would take so that I could get back to reading Blackstar to him. Notice a pattern? As I was finishing up the book, I noticed my son jumping onto chairs and couches and puffing out his chest. I recall doing the same as a boy when I was inspired by a story in a book or film. I suddenly felt I had the courage and skill of the hero I’d just witnessed perform his heroic acts, and I was swept away into imagining I was a part of that story.
May we have many more stories that sweep us away the way Blackstar did my son!”
“Another great story from S.D. Smith, his prequel to The Green Ember. Smith has created a world for his readers, and that world has a history, a history that must be told. The Black Star of Kingston is one of the stories from that history. Once you’ve read The Green Ember, you will want to read this story to know more about the world of Heather and Picket. And you will be glad you did, and entertained for having done so.”
M. G. Bianco, author of Letters To My Sons: A Human Vision for Human Relationships
“A short, heartwarming read with absolutely enchanting illustrations, The Black Star of Kingston belongs on the shelf of every fan of The Green Ember.”
Gretchen Louise, Kindred Grace
“This book has a great heart, very well-written action, some superb suspense (one subplot had a feel very like the smoke monster from LOST), several heartwarming moments between a father and his young son, a regular-guy hero, a host of complex characters (much more complex than I tend to expect in kid lit), and a stirring, satisfying ending. The first couple of chapters were a little slow, but the kids weren’t phased by this at all, and once the story gets going there’s no stopping it… I cried more than once during my first reading.”
“More please! I thoroughly enjoyed The Green Ember and now I’m so glad S.D. Smith continued his series. Rather, added to his series since this is not a sequel but a prequel. It was more of the same excellent writing. A swashbuckling adventure story about loyalty, sacrifice, and friendship that somehow makes us want to be better people.”
“Really enjoyed this backstory. Great story — Simple, plot driven, adventure, that fills color into Smith’s universe. Love how this world is filling out.”
“Another excellent book for a read-aloud with the kids. Where were these books when I was a kid? It is rare to stumble across books that both entertain me and the kids. This is one that does both with ease.”
“S. D. Smith is remarkable. He is not the most complex, flashy and high brow writer I have loved, but he has to be one of the most humble and honest storytellers I have let into my heart. His writing style is beautiful and compelling and I see much of C. S. Lewis in it. His tender and moral stories come from a deeply held love of his audience and a skill honed by the classic authors who nourished his soul. His classics-loving style and tender care for those who will engage with the story work magic on the reader’s heart.”
Sara Masarik, Plumfield and Paidea
“A beautiful story that keeps the whole family engaged!”
Elizabeth Hawbaker, Amazon Reviewer
“For a tale to be a classic, it has to transcend time. It has to reach out across the generations and appeal to each one as it did the last. It has to be full of timeless truths well-folded into the story, so that the reader is encouraged and emboldened by the heroes. Truth. Goodness. Beauty. Loyalty. The worthiness to fight for what is good and right. All these are woven into the fabric of The Green Ember storyline, and especially so in The Black Star of Kingston, the “prequel” or backstory to the series’ eponymous first volume. This is a tale that is truly classic.”
Steven R. Robertson, Amazon Reviewer
“I, and my kids, have been absolutely thrilled with The Green Ember and have enjoyed this novella just as much! It has added depth to The Green Ember, and leaves us longing for the next part of the story – even though this book is completely appropriate as a stand alone. Rabbits, bravery, endurance, swords, ships, monsters, a king that leads with service, and a prince that is a child – this just has all the best things. It’s absolutely refreshing, and quite a page turner.”
Jennifer Raymond, Amazon Reviewer
“I purchased this on my kindle immediately after finishing the last sentence of the Green Ember with my sons. We picked up the next day, eager for more of the adventure and excitement we knew was to come. We were not to be disappointed. S.D. Smith did it again and I can’t help but think that the world needs more heroes like these. The only complaint I can think of with this one is that there wasn’t more of it! As an ebook, I hadn’t realized how much shorter this one was and there were groans all around when we realized it was over! (Good problem to have). Can’t wait for the next installment in the Green Ember saga.”
Alison Anne, Amazon Reviewer
“Love this little prequel to The Green Ember! The chapters are relatively short which makes it a wonderful book for younger readers to handle themselves. It also makes for perfect bedtime reading. It’s companion book, The Green Ember, still holds the top spot, but Black Star still sails high above most young reader books on the market. Don’t be fooled, because older readers will thoroughly enjoy the read, too.”
R. Beeson, Amazon Reviewer
“Big win for my reluctant reader! S.D. Smith’s world of rabbits with swords is captivating. I have three children (16, 13, 11 yo) who love stories, but my middle child–the one who doesn’t interact with books that he’s not required to read–devoured this story and then proceeded to craft all sorts of creative art projects to accompany it. So as far as we can tell, S.D. Smith is some sort of word wizard. And he’s faithful to truth and grace, and the big story that unites us all. We are hooked on these characters and their adventures!”
Karen Buck, Amazon Review