The Charlatan’s Boy — Review Day 1

Stephen R. Lawhead's THE CHARLATAN'S BOYToday is the first day of the CSFF Blog Tour of THE CHARLATAN’S BOY by Jonathan Rogers.

The book is a stand-alone novel that takes place in Roger’s imaginary world of Corenwald (which sounds like Cornwall, England, to me). As such, the book shares the same background as The Bark of The Bog Owl (which I reviewed 3 years ago over here and here!), The Secret of the Swamp King, and The Way of the Wilderking, which are all excellent novels.


The story is about Grady, an orphan boy so ugly that his only friend in the world is Floyd, a huckster and a fraud. And this man is the only one who knows the truth about Grady.

Grady pretends to be “The wild feechie-boy form the swamp” as part of a traveling show, only no one believes in feechies anymore. So their money dries up, causing them to come up with a crazy scheme to start a “Great Feechie-Scare”.

What kind of story is THE CHARLATAN’S BOY?

My first thought when I picked up the book is that it would be an action-oriented plot, with lots going on, etc., etc., etc. I don’t know where I got this idea from except my own presuppositions, but I was wrong.

The book, in my mind, is almost literary, and is more about Grady’s internal struggles to find (a) the truth about his existence in the midst of all the lies and showmanship, and (b) true friendship.

Yes, there is plenty of action, but I would argue that is not the main, nor important part of the book. As such, it might not appeal to those who want a comic-book style novel.

Oh, but this is so much deeper, and oh so much more satisfying.

THE CHARLATAN’S BOY is like eating a real meal of rich foods covered in gravy with sumptuous portions next to shining goblets— while all around lie dry, sterile, hamburger helper and dehydrated milk. Really now, why wouldn’t you want to partake in this fabulous novel?

Tomorrow I’ll talk about one of the main themes of the book—truth vs. lying—and the amazing insights that Jonathan Rogers gives us.


THE CHARLATAN’S BOY is recommended for avid and casual reader’s of all ages who like a good yarn, told in a homespun, fun way, that will also make you think about life, love, community, and truth in ways you never have.

And one question for you, Jonathan … are you of Cornish descent? The name “Corenwald” just seems so close!

Anyway, here is my good friend and excellent guitarist, S.D. Smith on whether feechies exist and his one, small request to them:

And when you’re done watching that, check out all the hilariosity at The Feechie-Film Festival!

CSFF Blog Tour

And don’t forget to visit the other members of the tour:

Sally Apokedak
Amy Bissell
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Bruce Hennigan
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Donita K. Paul
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson

6 thoughts on “The Charlatan’s Boy — Review Day 1

  1. Thanks, Robert, for that very generous assessment of The Charlatan’s Boy. You’re right that this book, for all its robustiousness, is really about Grady’s inner life more than his outer life. In many ways, this book is more ambitious than the Wilderking books…and a large part of what I mean by that is that for me it was ambitious; it took me out of what was comfortable for me as a writer, which is mostly alligator wrestling.

    You asked if I was of Cornish descent. No. Corenwald is exceedingly close to Cornwall. I actually got that name from Cor – as in Latin for heart and ‘Wald’ – which means forest in Middle or Old English (I don’t remember which). So Corenwald means something like the heart of the forest or the forest in the heart. Which is exactly what the Wilderking books are about–the wild places that are in our hearts. I’ve had some regrets about using a place name that is so close to the actual place of Cornwall because I’m afraid it conjures up a Britishness that isn’t my intent. These here are American stories.

  2. Jonathan,

    Even if there is a similarity in name to Cornwall, you are right that these are American stories, and wonderfully so! Andrew Peterson said it properly that it is a “Christian version of a Mark Twain tale.” Very refreshing.

    My only other guess was that the name came from “Prince Coren” from “The Horse and His Boy” by C.S. Lewis, but you’ve shown that to be incorrect as well.

    Thanks for stopping by!


  3. I know… I read the sample first chapter online and it was amazing! I was drawn right in. I really want to read this book but I don’t know when I’ll be able to. Sad day, but hopefully not for long. :)

  4. Robert, another great post. I love reading what the tour people have to say about this delightful book. What I see in your article is the serious part intertwined with the fun. The Feechie Film Festival brings out the fun, for sure, but how important is a book about the inner life! And you dared use the L word–literary–a term I agree with completely. But it’s the perfect blend of vibrant plot with inner struggle and longing.


  5. Sam … I’ve heard your guitar on your CD, and you’re about fifty times better than myself!

    Nichole … definitely pick up this book. And I think book 2 will be even better.

    Rebecca … looks like we’re on the same page!

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