Everyone knows I love a good mystery, so when I discovered that Antony Barone Kolenc had written a youth adventure and mystery series, the Harwood Mysteries, I knew I had to learn more about them.
In this episode, we chat about his inspiration for the 12th-century series, the themes of the books, and the many (MANY) awards they’ve won!
What Happens When You Mix Fascinating History & Mystery? Great Books!
When I discovered that Antony Barone Kolenc wrote mysteries and what they were about, I knew this would be a great episode. Antony writes about 12th century England in what he calls “Harry Potter meets Brother Cadfael” but without the magic. There are supernatural-feeling elements that he describes as Scooby Do-esque. All the appearance of the inexplicable… right up until the story explains them.
Full of history, adventure, friendship, and faith, the Harwood Mysteries have everything I love about mystery. No, I haven’t read them yet, but thanks to a generous publisher in Loyola, I have an entire set sitting here just taunting me to put them next on my reading list.
The first book is also sitting on my Audible account, just waiting for me to listen. The narrator… wonderful so far. It opens with a bang, and I love the writing style. Oh, and speaking of audio… it’s that time when families start taking long car trips. What a great way to pass the time, listening to a good mystery.
So far, Antony has three books available, but the fourth is coming out soon! I’m so excited about this because he says he has as many as nine in his head. NINE! SQUEE!
Something about the series reminds me of my Wynnewood series.
CAVEAT: I have not read these books yet, but I have listened to some of the audio. The opening of the book describes a bandit raid which includes fire, a mace-wielding bandit and his victim, etc. I wouldn’t play this for younger children without listening first to be certain it fits your family’s comfort levels.
Antony Barone Kolenc also has a podcast!
For families looking for uplifting content, Antony does some of the legwork for you on Shepherd’s Pie. As the website says, “The Shepherd’s Pie is an uplifting, ecumenical show that airs weekly on radio and podcast channels. With engaging conversations and fun entertainment reviews, we offer positive insights and media resources for families and youth leaders, while we discuss issues that impact young people at home, in school, and in the world today.”
An attack by bandits in the middle of the night leaves a young boy with no memory of who he is or where he is from. Nursed back to health by the devoted monks in a Benedictine abbey, he takes the name Alexander, or Xan for short. Aided by the kindly Brother Andrew, Xan commits himself to finding out who he really is.
Does he have a family? Are they still alive?
And who–or what–is the shadowy figure creeping around the abbey in the dead of night?
Illumination Book Awards, Gold Medal: Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction (2021)
Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, Gold Medal: Young Adult Fiction – Mystery (2020)
International Book Awards, 1st Place: Religious Fiction (2021)
Independent Publisher Book Awards, Bronze Medal: Religious Fiction (2021)
Catholic Media Association Book Awards, 3rd Place: Escapism (2021)
ACP Excellence in Publishing Awards, 3rd Place: Young Readers (2021)