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The Lost Kingdom

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  632 ratings  ·  166 reviews
A remarkable adventure by award-winning author Matthew J. Kirby brings a fantastical American West filled with secrets and spies and terrifying creatures to vivid life.

In this extraordinary adventure story, Billy Bartram, his father, and a secret society of philosophers and scientists venture into the American wilderness in search of the lost people of the Welsh Prince Mad
Hardcover, 348 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by Scholastic Press
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3.71  · 
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 ·  632 ratings  ·  166 reviews

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Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it

Here’s why I didn’t want to read The Lost Kingdom: I’m not that into historical fiction and I’m not that into fantasy. But mostly, I didn’t want to read it because it’s thick. I have a job to do. I need to help kids want to read. That means getting the right book into the hands of the right student. The shorter the text, the more books I can expose myself to. Plus, generally speaking, the student who can access 300+ page fantasy novels doesn’t need too much of my help finding books.

There were o
Shanshad Whelan
Note: An advanced reader copy was provided by the publisher.
Review originally published at Views from the Tesseract:

The last time I encountered a story that used the legend of Prince Madoc as inspiration for the story, it was A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle. Apparently, it was a popular legend in the Colonial days. The story goes that long before Columbus ”discovered” America, a Welsh prince came to the shores of North America with some of h
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I heard about this book I thought, SHUT UP. Somebody else is fascinated by the lost Welsh colony? And they've beaten me to the punch writing a book about it?! And it's my friend Matt?! THAT BAD MATT. Because as soon as I hear Matt's name, I know that the book will be EXCELLENT, and completely different from what I imagined, and that I will love it, and that I will not be able to stay angry at Matt for using an idea I might have wanted to write about some day because he's just so darn nice a ...more
Great story and wonderful to either introduce children, 8 and up, or share a love of children. Unusual and unique storyline. A fun mix of historical fiction (Ben Franklin) and fantasy. Family friendly audio great for all ages.
Bill Tillman
Fantastic mid-grade fantasy, a must read for boys and girls in middle school. A fantastic amount of research went into The Lost Kingdom. Having spent almost a year researching Madoc myself. Coming of Age would be another way of describing this book.

I recommend reading it.
Wayne McCoy
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
'The Lost Kingdom' by Matthew J. Kirby combines a young adult novel with an interesting setting. I thought it was a lot of fun to read.

The book takes place in a Pre-Revolutionary War America, and includes the kind of fantastical inventions usually seen in steampunk. Billy Bartram sets out on an adventure with his father, who is part of a secret society of philosophers and scientists. They are looking for the lost city of a Welsh prince named Madoc, and they hope he can help them in their war aga
Wes Lenseigne
Oct 05, 2015 rated it liked it
It was OK, and it was full of suspense.
Scottsdale Public Library
"A fun and surprising read!" says my ten-year-old. There are many genres packed into this well paced book: Steam punk, history, adventure, realistic family relationships, it's pretty filled with twists and turns.

It is a slightly thicker read (AR 4.3 points 11.0, Lexile 620) which might present a challenge for some readers.

Fans may also enjoy "The Mark of the Dragonfly" by Jaleigh Johnson, or "The Boundless" by Kenneth Oppel. - Alexis S.
Brandy Painter
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
4.5 It would have been 5 if not for Jane.

Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

I didn't know much about The Lost Kingdom before starting it. I never read the synopsis. I knew Matthew Kirby wrote it, and as I quite liked Icefall that was all I needed. I wish I went into more books this way. Not having any idea what the story even is, I'm always pleasantly surprised with what I get. This one is a great read from start to finish.

Set just before the beginning of the French and I
Joshua Whiting
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars - Review Posted on

Billy Bartram, the youthful son of a botanist explorer in colonial Pennsylvania, awakens one night to the sound of French-speaking intruders rustling through his father’s study on their farm. He helps his father escape harm and is brought into his confidence, learning that his father belongs to a secret society of philosophers, inventors, and scientists led by one Benjamin Franklin. Soon he is invited along w
Matthew J. Kirby adds another winner to his oeuvre! This old fashioned adventure yarn reminds me (in style and feel but not in language or pace) of Treasure Island/Kidnapped and also H Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines. The mix of fact, myth, fiction and fantasy is superb (and the author is scrupulous about separating out which is which in a end note), the characters are well-developed. The themes of 'walking your own path' and appreciating similarities and differences are seamlessly integrat ...more
Fantasy Literature
Sep 04, 2013 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Matthew Kirby set himself a pretty high bar with his first two YA books. Both The Clockwork Three and Icefall made it onto my top ten list for Fantasy Literature their respective years, and Icefall I would have put on my top ten list of books that year, fantasy or not. So when I say that his third book, The Lost Kingdom, doesn’t quite match up, one should keep that high (extremely high) bar in mind. Despite being weaker in comparison, it’s still a pretty good book, and it comes as all h
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review originally published in ,a href=" For a Good Book. Rated 4.0 of 5

Take an adventure story from Jules Verne, give it a Young Adult set of characters, and toss in a pinch of Steampunk and you get something very close to Matthew J. Kirby's The Lost Kingdom.

Bill Bartram and his father, along with scientists and members of a secret society of philosophers adventure into the American wilderness of pre-Civil War times, to find the followers of Madoc -
Mark Buxton
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
My name is Billy, and Benjamin Franklin has welcomed me to join my father and others as a member of the Philosophical Society. I didn't even know they existed, but these scientists secretly act as protectors of the colonies. The Society fears a war between France and England is looming, and the colonies will be the battleground. We're following legends and heading west on a flying ship to find the lost Welsh kingdom of Prince Madoc, and we hope to convince the kingdom to become our allies. I've ...more
Sarah Eagle
Apr 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked this book because it was a blend of historical fiction—George Washington and Benjamin Franklin!—And Steampunk, what with the airship and electrical capture method. The characters were very well flushed-out and distinct in their personalities. I also appreciated all the different elements coming together about Billy’s Dad overcoming his racism, Kelpius, Madoc’s people, etc.

However, I had some concerns about the writing itself. For a kid’s book marketed to 8-12 year olds, this was very lon
Rebecca Dartnall
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Great historical fiction with a bit of creative license to make a rolicking colonial American adventure of a group venturing into the wild western wilderness. Teenager main character Billy Bartram has been invited by his father to join a special expedition in the year 1754 with the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia. His father's passion & expertise, botany, equals his fascination with the rumors of an ancient Welsh kingdom, established in the far west of the North American conti ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
I have been a fan of Kirby’s book for a long time. I loved his Clockwork Three novel and also enjoyed his Dark Gravity Sequence series. This was an okay middle grade adventure steampunk novel by Kirby. I enjoyed some aspects of the story but through the whole thing was a bit simple and slow at points.

Billy Bartram is ecstatic when his father decides to let Billy accompany him on a journey into the American wild west. The society that Billy’s dad is part of is seeking the lost people of the Welsh
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fantasy adventure set during the French and Indian War in the U.S. While fictional, this fun adventure still manages to feel historical. It follows the story of Billy who is accompanying his father for the first time on one of his expeditions. Their mission is to sail a flying ship westward to find the lost colony of Welshmen supposed to be in the interior of North America. Along the way, Billy finds out more about his father than he ever knew, and discovers a deep prejudice against Indians that ...more
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm still in the middle of this book after a year, but I don't want to finish it. I'm a big fan of Matt Kirby, but this one is a struggle for me. Mostly, it's the ONLY female character. Being female, I'm bothered by her role in the book (as the one that gets left behind and then the one that causes problems). The men are patronizing scientists and the main character is clueless to the point of being irritating.

This book feels like a man's club wandering in the wilderness. The plot feels like a
This is a colonial era adventure story. Ben Franklin forms a philosophical society and they are tasked with finding a lost Welsh kingdom. The hope is that this kingdom will side with the Americans to win the war against Britain. The adventurers take off in a ship that is able to fly. They are pursued on their journey by the French who also look to find the hidden kingdom. There is deceit among the society members and everyone is suspicious. There are many close calls with the French, wild animal ...more
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-book
This was an excellent work of historical fiction weaving in elements of truth and the fantastical. With so many characters who were real people, I thought I would struggle with reading about a made up adventure that they had, but I found myself believing that it could have happened, or at least that how they were portrayed in the book was how they might have been.

I enjoyed how differently each character viewed their world and how those beliefs created even more of a conflict than some of the dan
Nicole Smith
Aug 24, 2018 rated it liked it
One thing I love about going into libraries is that I often see a book I would never have found out about any other way – one that calls to me, I pick it up off the shelf and take it home with me. That is one of the things I miss when I primarily use digital library offerings. So, when this one showed up on a suggested reading list in my digital library, I decided to digitally pick it up off the shelf.

It was a fun listen. I enjoyed the reader, and the story was entertaining. A mix of historical
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Really interesting idea, I loved the flying ship and the Philanthropic Society, it was all very much like a Jules Vern novel for a younger audience.

I just wasn't really in the mood for it at the time.

Jul 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
This had the potential to be great. There were too many holes for me.
The vagueness of the background drove me nuts and serve to increase the feeling of the preach-ness. This was increased by the one-sided argument that the narrator has with... himself.
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
An interesting read. It was going along great until the the plot went downhill in the middle of the book. Thought it was going to be interesting and complex, but it seems like the author gave up on completing a thrilling plot line near the end.
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
A solid middle-grade historical adventure fantasy, with some steampunk added for fun. It was interesting, rooted in history, explored the fantastic Welsh-kingdom-in-America myth (A Swiftly Tilting Planet, anyone?), and let some tensions unresolved. Solid read for kids.
Mary Ellen
This was a great adventure story! Part historical-fiction and part fantasy, The Lost Kingdom follows young Bill as he joins his father on an expedition into the Americas in the late 1700’s.
Amelia M.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
The book was really good! I loved how it was based/took place in the "olden" days. I would recommend this book to elementary and Middle school
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Two-second recap: The Lost Kingdom is a creative, adventurous tale of a father and son, as they journey through an alternate 1700s American to find a lost Welsh colony.

Full review:

Just last week, I admitted to being blown away at the depth of the writing and the issues covered in Laurel Snyder’s Seven Stories Up.

It looks like the trend’s going to continue this week, because I was in serious awe of Matthew J. Kirby’s excellent The Lost Kingdom. This is a rip-roaring adventure of father and son

Billy Bertram's father John is a renowned botanist in colonial times who lives in Philadelphia. John has started the Society of Philosophers with Benjamin Franklin, a secret group that brings together the best and brightest from their respective fields (machinery/mechanics, astronomy, history, philosophy, electricity, inventors, etc.) who also happen to be patriots. There is legend and rumor of Native Americans who speak Welsh, having learned it from a Welsh group that set sail and landed i
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Matthew Kirby was born in Utah, and grew up in Maryland, California, and Hawaii. As an undergraduate he majored in history, and then went on to pursue an M.S. in school psychology. For ten months out of the year he works with students, and during the rest of the year he writes. He and his wife currently live in northern Utah.