Where music creates matter, the Piper dwells. Absolutely necessary to the Piper’s existence, real, yet beyond reality, music can control and yet can be controlled. Out of sorrow, bitterness, and fear, Hannes came intimately to piping. With joy, he has learned to play the Master Piper’s tune. Now he must prove his mature ability by doing a worthwhile musical work.
A simple musical work it is: rid Hamelin of its terrible plague of rats. For this work he carries his hard earned pipe. For sentimentality, he also carries his disillusioned father’s wooden pipe. And he wears, although they laugh, the Master Piper’s red and yellow motley. Within its pages are found a pretty, capable young woman, an alert girl-child, a man who would be his trusted friend, a mayor by choice socially blind, a city council not unlike many of today’s politicians, yet not all is as it seems. The rodents are dangerous. But vastly more dangerous are the human rats. Humanly fallible, Hannes must make the call between mercy and justice, between children and their parents, between life and death.
A father and son writing team, Keith and Adam McCune have, between them, woven a seamless tale of fear, intrigue, puzzlement, and triumph. Keith, a missionary linguist and poet, brings a delicate ear for language to The Rats of Hamelin. Adam creatively plotted and drew this story. It is truly a Christian story, yet no overt Christian statements appear. The alert reader will inhale the Christian nuances of the many parables throughout this fable. The characters grow in reality as the tale unfolds. The plot’s veneers and intrigues become understandable and take on veracity as the characters meet and cope with them.
For those into fables and fantasy, The Rats of Hamelin will be eminently readable. The story draws the reader in, so that those just coming to this genre, will, with some thinking, enjoy and begin to understand the magnetism of fantasy. – Donna Eggett, Christian Book Previews.com
“In that scented, touch-filled Pipeworld, where notes speak clear as words, where connections are thick and countless, I felt the chaining up and circling together of other traces in my head…And as the Pipe amplified all sounds and souls, including mine, I heard my mind echoing: the mission is dead. No rat-kill, no reward, no liberation. No home, no Hofmanns, no Klara. It was all an illusion.”
The Rats of Hamelin blends history and fantasy to reshape the hazy legend of the pied piper. After six years as a piper’s apprentice, Hannes sets out on the mission that will make him a master in the guild. His orders seem simple enough: rid Hamelin of a plague of rats and use the reward money for a charitable cause. Simple indeed, until he discovers that the real rats of Hamelin aren’t the ones scurrying underfoot.
Unsure who to count among his friends—the mayor’s beautiful daughter? a generous businessman? a precocious little girl?—Hannes struggles against deadly enemies and thoughtless allies. Every step he takes comes down to a deceptively simple choice: when to show mercy…and when to bring justice.
Readers will be thrilled with this first novel by Adam & Keith McCune. This father-son team bring a wealth of linguistic and literary knowledge to bear on their retelling of the famous Pied Piper fairy tale. The story naturally lends itself to reflection on the themes of law and mercy, as well as the sometimes-complex nature of the relationship between fathers and sons.