Everyone admires a young, courageous hero. The Trumpeter of Krakow presents just such a hero. Love of God, country and family inspire the protagonists of Eric Kelly’s story about 15th century Poland.
The tale begins in the 13th century as the Tartars invade Poland. The citizens of Krakow have always depended on the young trumpeter to sound his horn every hour of the day and night. Faithful to his post, the young man assigned to this noble task plays the traditional Heynal as the Tartars attack the city and loses his life. As a tribute to his sacrifice, the trumpeters of Krakow adopt the tradition of playing their song every hour, but stopping at the last note this young man played.
200 hundred years later, Joseph Charnetski continues this tradition. Although originally from the Ukraine, he immigrated to the city with his father and mother while escaping Tartars in his native land. His father, Andrew, is in possession of a valuable and powerful artifact, entrusted to him for safekeeping. Chased by power hungry, evil men, Andrew is trying to begin a new life while remaining in hiding. It is only with the help of a holy priest and a brave young lady that Joseph is able to fulfill his duty and protect Krakow.
Kelly’s Newbery Award winning book combines patriotism and fantasy. The author demonstrates clearly how avarice can consume a soul little by little. Surrounded by shady characters, the Charnetski’s exhibit a strong sense of honor that readers cannot help respecting.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ