‘Never announce you are a Knight, simply behave as one. You are better than no one, and no one is better than you.’
When Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke was a boy, his grandfather taught him how to be a knight. Now, on the eve of a battle from which he fears he may not return, Sir Thomas writes a letter to his children so that he may pass on all his hard-won lessons, deepest aspirations and most instructive failures.
Full of adventure and wit, the letter provides a guide for living a good and noble life – a reminder that without a little agony none of us would bother to learn a thing; that we must work together as brothers or perish together as fools; that a friend loves you because you are true to yourself, not because you agree with him. And, most importantly, it shows that there is no obstacle that enough love cannot move.
Actor and author Hawke (Ash Wednesday) pens a heartwarming, medieval tale on ethics. Written in an epistolary form, Hawke writes from the perspective of his imagined ancestor Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke, a knight who knows he is about to die in war. Sir Thomas teaches his children the 20 rules of knighthood, using examples from his own life to prove their validity. Each chapter begins with a drawing by Hawke's wife, Ryan, and a short aphorism. Sir Thomas states that "luck is the residue of design" to explain the importance of dedication. To explain courage, he asserts that "anything that gives light must endure burning." In addition to the more obvious notions one might instill in a child, Hawke touches upon subjects less-often addressed, such as speech, solitude, and death "in silence we can sense eternity sleeping inside us." Hawke's joust against injustice and fear is an easy and endearing read, perfect for young and old children alike.