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The Black Star of Kingston

(Tales of Old Natalia #1)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,841 ratings  ·  196 reviews
A century before Heather and Picket's adventures in The Green Ember, a displaced community fights for hope on the ragged edge of survival.

My place beside you,
My blood for yours.
Till the Green Ember rises,
Or the end of the world.

Whitson Mariner and Fleck Blackstar face old fears and new enemies, forging a legend that will echo through the ages.

Old wars haunt. New enemies
Kindle Edition, 160 pages
Published July 13th 2015 by Story Warren Books (first published January 1st 2015)
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Kate Willis It doesn't really matter, but I read "The Green Ember" first and enjoyed getting the backstory of the pledge later. ;)

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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  1,841 ratings  ·  196 reviews

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Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am going to venture to guess that Chesterton would have liked this book.

Not because it is the most well written book. Not because it is the most artistic book. Not even that it is the best book of his offerings. But Chesterton and his wife Frances would have loved how much this book loves children and the fiction that feeds their souls.

S.D. Smith is remarkable. He is not the most complex, elegant or flashy writer I have loved but he has to be one of the most humble and honest storytellers I
Kevin Brandon
Another fun book by S.D. Smith. After reading aloud the Green Ember to my 7 and 5 year olds, they wanted more. Lucky we didn't have to wait too long.

They both loved The Black Star of Kingston. I asked my oldest what she liked about the book and said, "I like how the scariness and the happiness worked together perfectly!"

We look forward for more.
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"My place beside you, my blood for yours. Til the Green Ember rises or the end of the world!"

What a fantastic book! The Black Star of Kingston is another swashbuckling tale full of valiant heroes and daring adventures. But like Smith's debut novel, it is also full of truth, goodness, wisdom, and beauty. Rarely have I read an author who has a gift for inspiring courage and imagination in both children and adults, but S.D. Smith has done it again!

This book takes place about 100 years before the
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised by how short this story was in comparison to the others...but it was a fun read. I was able to finish it during a sibling's math lesson. :)
Barnabas Piper
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lively prequel to "The Green Ember" with elements of courage, honesty, honor, friendship, and loyalty - all the right ingredients for a story. It's more of a novella than a full novel, but it sets the stage well and is a fun read.
Julia Burford
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is much shorter than the Green Ember books, and as such is not quite as well developed. However, the ending is so well done and hopeful that it left me with a pleased feeling and erased the niggles that I had.
Chloe Reynolds
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was fantastic!
This is short and doesn't require much concentration which is just what I wanted. I still don't see rich symbolism in this series and the writing drives me batty at times, but it inspires me. I can't figure out why! Maybe I'll find out as I continue the series.
Kate Willis
So after I read The Green Ember and loved it to pieces, I began to try to stretch my Amazon money to buy a paperback copy of its prequel. The author, S.D. Smith, had done such an amazing job with his other story that I wanted more, more, more. ; ) And why not buy paperback while I was at it? While I was still in the stretching process, The Blackstar of Kingston became free on Kindle. Oh the temptation to pick it up! Then I found out Mom had picked it up. Oh the temptation to read it! Dont ever ...more
Jonathan Aman
I read this aloud to my son. We were supposed to go outside, but he wanted me to read Blackstar. We were supposed to play board games, but he wanted me to read more Blackstar. He asked how long the dishes would take so that I could get back to reading Blackstar to him. Notice a pattern?
As I was finishing up the book, I noticed my son jumping onto chairs and couches and puffing out his chest. I recall doing the same as a boy when I was inspired by a story in a book or film. I suddenly felt I had
Rebecca Ray
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is a companion to the Green Ember series, and it is an adventure tale of an adventure with Whitson Mariner and Fleck Blackstar at the center. There are boats, bunnies and monstrous birds involved.

More importantly, this is the story of how the pledge that is so often given in The Green Ember came to be.

We struggled with this book. We started it, slowly progressed through it, and then stalled and abandoned it for a couple of months. We came back to it because we wanted to get back to
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-alouds
I was hoping for more, honestly. Is it an adventure book? Yes. Did my kids like the cliffhangers at the end of each chapter? For sure. But for some reason they werent all that excited each night to read it. One mechanic that was similar to the first book was that it started out with action, then spent time building characters and scenery, then went back to action. I guess its just not a format I connect with very well as I dont feel attached to the characters as much as I do with other books.

Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novella was my first introduction to the world of Green Ember (simply because I was able to get this book from the library hold list first), and it has set the stage for what promises to be a compelling series. With strong themes of loyalty and brotherhood, "The Black Star of Kingston" is both simple enough for adolescents and intriguing enough for older readers. Despite some violence due to a battle, this is a clean read, and one I recommend for anyone looking for adventure and ...more
Altivo Overo
I have mixed feelings about this. It's a good adventure that will appeal to young readers, and has a lot of virtues and values (perhaps a bit too many) on display. But it seems loaded with unnecessary and unexplained violence and death and may be a bit too "preachy" without providing a basis for the morality it professes. I notice that some reviewers compare it to C. S. Lewis, but Narnia (despite some similarities) is driven by love in most respects. This world seems instead to be filled with ...more
Michelle Rogers
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great short story by S.D. Smith in the Green Ember universe. We have loved this series. This book, like the others, is exciting with wonderful lessons woven naturally in about virtues like courage, sacrifice, love, loyalty and friendship.
Bethany Cousins
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
"He had always been wise enough to see and bold enough to act. Now he was becoming brave enough to hope."
This was another whimsical adventure in the world of The Green Ember series. Filled with more remarkable characters, brilliant writing and dangerous escapades.
Lizzie & Koala Skywalker
The Black Star of Kingston is a great book. I really enjoyed reading about Captain Blackstar's adventures. ~ Koala ^-^
Karen Field
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Black Star is set 100 years prior to Heather and Pickett being born, so I found myself in a dilemma. The author recommends that after The Green Ember, we should read The Black Star of Kingston. However, for me that would mean leaving the characters I had grown attached to and starting again with a new set of characters. That didn't sit well for me. I like to stay with the characters I know.

But I started reading Black Star. I did so with a little defiance in the back of my mind. If I didn't like
Aaron W. Matthews
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Black Star serves as a prequel to The Green Ember, but it need not be read before The Green Ember to make sense. It stands alone just fine. The novella expands on how the famous oath (My place beside you, my blood for yours! Till the Green Ember rises, or the end of the world!) began. This is a good book/series - probably aimed at early teens - but thoroughly enjoyable for all ages. I read The Green Ember first, then Ember Falls, then this one. I've heard it called a new story with an old soul - ...more
Luke Thomas
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-aloud
I am loving the Green Ember series. This book I read in a weekend to my girls. The drama was excellent. I appreciate Smith's use of characters to present an honorable character (Fleck) next to a dishonorable one (Gant). Choices are made and in those choices heroes are made. I can't recommend this series enough as read aloud to you kids. Great discussions!
Carol Arnold
Dec 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though this is a children's story, this old grandma still enjoyed it. It is full of excitement and adventure. The book was well written for the most part. There was once or twice when I wasn't sure what was being said. I felt that children, the target audience, would not understand either. This book was written as a prequel to The Green Ember, but I didn't really get the connection. Both were about brave rabbits fighting against very powerful evil enemies. The crown and the Green Ember were ...more
Gretchen Louise
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Our beloved The Green Ember is dotted with references to Whitson Mariner and The Black Star of Kingston. In this first of the Tales of Old Natalia, S.D. Smith tells the story behind the story. Digging into the deep history of our favorite characters in The Green Ember, we get to hear of Fleck, Galt, Prince Lander, and the Battle of Ayman Lake.

A short, heartwarming read with absolutely enchanting illustrations, The Black Star of Kingston belongs on the shelf of every fan of The Green Ember. My
Matthew Bianco
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Another great story from S.D. Smith, his prequel to The Green Ember. Smith has created a world for his readers, and that world has a history, a history that must be told. The Black Star of Kingston is one of the stories from that history. Once you've read The Green Ember, you will want to read this story to know more about the world of Heather and Picket. And you will be glad you did, and entertained for having done so.
Scott James
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. I love how the characters develop and how quickly you become attached to them. I enjoyed this book for my own sake, but even more so for the sake of my kids. This is the sort of work that stirs their souls to love a good story, and to live a good story. For parents wanting to show their children the beauty of a holy imagination, SD Smith has shown once again that he is on our side.
Rick Dobrowolski
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent book for a read-aloud with the kids. Where were these books when I was a kid? It is rare to stumble across books that both entertain me and the kids. This is one that does both with ease.
Katie Krombein
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having loved the Green Ember, we enjoyed picking up this little prequel and reading about the Heroic efforts of Fleck and King Whitson. Love the phrase: "My place beside you, my blood for yours. Til the Green Ember rises or the end of the world!"
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My kids loved this one, especially my six year old son. It doesn't have the same powerful punch that the main books do, but it's a great read and a good way to stretch out the series to last a little longer and make our kids wait on baited breath for the next book.
Vie Océane
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love it!
Sarah Montgomery
The is a fun little story for lovers of The Green Ember. It tells part of the history that leads up to that tale. It is a great family read aloud!
Lara Lleverino
Our only criticism was that it was too short!
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S. D. Smith lives with his wife and four kids in West Virginia, because it would be weird to live with someone elses wife and four kids in West Virginia, or anywhere else, right?

Smith is the author of the middle-grade adventure fantasy novels, The Green Ember, The Black Star of Kingston, Ember Falls (The Green Ember: Book II), The Last Archer: A Green Ember Story, and Ember Rising (The Green

Other books in the series

Tales of Old Natalia (2 books)
  • The Wreck & Rise of Whitson Mariner (Tales of Old Natalia, #2)

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