“Whereof what’s past is prologue.” — William Shakespeare
Title: The Butterfly King (The Lost and Founds: Book Three
Author: Edmond Manning
Publisher: Pickwick Ink Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 301 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: Terrance Altham doesn’t know why he’s been arrested. He’s committed no crime and the cops aren’t talking. Sadly, the man sharing his holding cell talks too much. Known only as Ghost, he is a young grifter, apparently familiar enough with this police station to convince Terrance a break out is possible, and pushy enough to leave Terrance no choice but to follow Ghost into the underbelly of New York City.
Terrified by the unjust imprisonment and the possibility of a life behind bars, Terrance searches for proof of his innocence while Ghost seeks the elusive Butterfly King. But neither man seems in control of the weekend’s direction and the consequences of missteps are life-changing. As Ghost’s manipulations come to an explosive head, each man must decide amid danger and street violence what kind of man will triumph, lost or found?
Narrator Vin Vanbly (a.k.a Ghost) returns in the most revealing King Weekend yet, where he faces the dark side of his dangerous manipulations, and learns mistakes can be deadly. Vin must confront sinister dealings from his past—and a future promising disaster—as he waltzes Terrance across Manhattan in spring, searching for the elusive and charismatic, Butterfly King.
Review: Three books into the Lost and Founds Series, author Edmond Manning has altered the complexion of our bard Vin Vanbly. The Butterfly King takes us back in time, to the year 1993—three years before Mai became a Found King, six years before Perry—and we learn some things about our beloved Mr. Vanbly from this journey back, things that not only served to break my heart but also at once vexed me then helped me to understand, if only a bit better, this complex and enigmatic character. There are several outcomes that might have occurred as a result of this shift in my perception of Vin; the first being that it could have failed; the second being that it could have been a merely adequate device to keep the series fresh at its midway point; another being that it could have been such an unexpected alteration in the whole-cloth of this series that it left me feeling somewhat disoriented and, in the end, elated to see how far the man has come.
Suffice it to say, we’ll go with option three on this one.
If you’ve been following this series at all, you already know that the Lost and Founds is about personal evolution and self-discovery. It’s a celebration of the ability to take our most human of fears and frailties and use them to discover our untapped strength. What makes The Butterfly King unique within the framework of the series is the way in which Vin operates. It was, at times, a shocking contrast to the Vin Vanbly we’re more familiar with, and I will say to you what I told a friend who’d only just started reading the book as I’d finished—be patient and trust Mr. Manning. The way this book is presented feels different because Vin is different, and all will become clear in the end. Or, if not all, at least a good bit of where Vin came from. The contrast of Terrance’s kinging, in relationship to both Mai’s and Perry’s, is as much a revelation of Vin as it is of the man whose King Weekend proves to be a near unparalleled disaster.
The Butterfly King is, as are the previous two books in the series, about transition, transformation, and of becoming attuned to the power we all hold within ourselves to be liberated spiritually and emotionally, to tap into the potential we all possess to love with a love that is more than love, to paraphrase Mr. Poe. It is a lesson in loving ourselves, embracing our worth as men, as women, as true Kings and Queens of the human race, but perhaps the greatest revelation in The Butterfly King is not in Terrence’s journey at all, but in Vin’s. The depths Edmond Manning has plumbed in this installment gives us a clearer insight into the man who helps others unlock their truest potential, and in doing so, the author has offered us a rare glimpse of a man whose debit column in the ledger of his own self-worth is so overdrawn that his hope and faith in himself are all but bankrupt. Vin values the power of loving others but values so little in himself that he’s willing to sacrifice every part of him just to make sure he succeeds in proving his love for the Butterfly King, even if it means the greatest loss of all. It’s not the end goal that’s changed in Terrance’s journey to his kinging, it’s the methods Vin employs to get him there; the insecurity, the lack of finesse we saw with both Perry and Mai that makes this particular book unique to the series.
The Butterfly King is yet another diamond plucked from the gold mine of Edmond Manning’s imagination. It’s a book that’s at once familiar yet foreign, at times is fraught with a poignancy that had only been hinted at before, but, in the end, delivers us to a place where we can see the inception of the Vin we’ve come to know and love. He’s an uncommon man, our Storyteller is, and the Lost and Founds is an uncommon series, one I recommend with an uncommon enthusiasm.
You can buy The Butterfly King (The Lost and Founds: Book Three) here: