The Prince and the Apocalypse by Kara McDowell

Reviewed by Rod McLary

Who doesn’t enjoy a romance – especially when it involves a brash American girl and an heir to the English throne?  Sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?  But in this story, there is a further element – an impending apocalypse.

Narrated in the first person by Wren Wheeler – eighteen years old – who has just completed her secondary schooling in Chicago, The Prince & the Apocalypse is a fast-paced and engaging romance about Wren’s adventures with an English prince.

Wren and her best friend Brooke have travelled to London to celebrate and to enjoy themselves before college.  Unfortunately, Wren succumbs to a bout of food poisoning and spends her first five days in the bathroom.  By the time she recovers, Brooke has found other friends and made other plans.  Disappointed and alone, Wren wanders the London streets until she comes across ‘Geoffrey.  Nineteen.  British’ [17] and her holiday trajectory changes instantly.  When she notices people taking photographs of Geoffrey, she takes a closer look at him and realises that he is actually Prince Theodore, Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne.  Theo is running away from home as he no longer wants to be a prince and ultimately a king.  Why you might ask?  Why indeed but his reasons are not disclosed until later in the novel.

What Wren discovers at this point is that there is a comet headed for Earth and expected to hit in eight days’ time and cause total annihilation.  Now desperate to return to her family in Chicago, Wren heads to Heathrow along with Theo to whom she has taken on the role of bodyguard to shield him from the paparazzi – and to ensure that his mother the Queen doesn’t locate him and force him to return home.  But with only days to live, most workers have decided not to work and few planes are flying.  Wren misses her plane and the one after that.

This already fast-paced tale is ramped another notch or two when Theo proposes to take Wren to Santorini where his family has a private jet which will fly her to Chicago.  Accessing trains and boats and planes – and enduring a series of setbacks and complications which would deter lesser spirits – they eventually arrive in Santorini.  Alongside this adventure is the increasing sexual tension between Wren and Theo heightened by the constant proximity and the obligation to share rooms and beds.  It seems that Theo is clear about his feelings towards Wren quite soon after they meet, but Wren is less certain partly because she feels that he is withholding some information from her.

As in all the best romances, all’s well that ends well.  However, there are some unexpected twists to ensure that no reader can anticipate the ending successfully.

The Prince & the Apocalypse is an enjoyable and light-hearted romp through eight days of the lives of an engaging and humorous eighteen-year-old with a penchant for the one-line putdown and a nineteen-year-old prince who visibly relaxes the further away he is from the Palace.

The Prince & the Apocalypse


by Kara McDowell

Pan Macmillan

ISBN 978 176126 453 5

$26.99; 307pp

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