The Crystalline Crucible

Adam Rowan


Book Review

April 19, 2024

Take an eccentric man-child named Maxwell in a small English town, Rosie, a nursery school teacher who aspires to write children’s books, and Kahlil, a man on the run from a London gang, and what do you have?  A quest, of course

Maxwell breaks into the Museum of Natural History distinctively dressed in a Cookie Monster hoody and a Tony the Tiger rucksack on his back while wielding a sword named Fleshrender.

Why? To steal a pre-historic mammoth tusk because he believes it holds the clue to the next step in his treasure hunt. He’s not good at burglary, but his determination to fulfill his life’s work as a dedicated treasure hunter is stronger than anyone’s sense of reason. Besides, he needs the money to escape his boring life.  He is surprised and offended that the police had the nerve to arrest him.The other young man, Kahlil, on the run from a gang, is much better at being a criminal, having trained in the ways of thievery during his apprenticeship in the streets of London. He despises the foolish Max, until, of course, they team up to win the big prize.


Rosie is the closest thing to a voice of reason of the trio unless you count her habit of seeing the people in her life as fully-formed carton animals. She tries to dissuade her childhood friend Max from the quest, for the very sensible reason that he has been ordered by a judge to stop or he will be thrown in prison.

Reason and good sense have no place in Maxwell’s mind.

So, the quest conti

In the classic heroic journey adventure, the hero must change, grow, and come to some understanding or wisdom.  Two of the three adventurers seem to achieve that turning point. One, not so much.  I’ll leave it to the reader to figure out which one.

The Crystalline Crucible is geared to a young audience of middle school age.