Book Review: Monarchs and Mendicants

Monarchs and Mendicants (Gifford Ulrich, #1)Monarchs and Mendicants by Dan Groat
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gifford has got to get out of downtown St. Louis to flee the Hacker, an assassin who for some unknown reason targets the local homeless population. After discovering his friend, Raphael, cut to pieces he takes Tobias, Raphael’s faithful dog, and heads south, toward Benoit. There he finds a community and even somewhat steady work at the local brick yard, but also danger. Has the Hacker been tracking him? Who does the Hacker work for and why is he following Gifford?

Monarchs and Mendicants is a thoughtful tale that looks at the plight of the homeless through Gifford, a Veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and generally down on his luck guy. He is the homeless guy that no one likes to admit exists - not a druggie or a wino, or lazy, just trying to catch a break. You can’t help but be drawn to him despite his tough exterior, and root for him as he works to survive and eventually come out of his shell to do what he does best - fight for others who need a break too. As I live in the greater St. Louis area I was also drawn to the tales from home, and Groat’s description of the area is quite sound, although many of the names were changed of course. Mostly though, you are drawn to the plight of homeless in general, and if you assume that everyone is homeless because they choose to be you might find yourself questioning that assumption after reading it. I love literature that challenges assumptions, and Groat’s work certainly falls in that category. My one issue with the book was actually the cover as it screamed amateur. In this case, the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” certainly rings true!


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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.
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