Elizabeth Wein The Sunbird

ISBN 13: 9780142401712

The Sunbird

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9780142401712: The Sunbird

Eleven-year-old Telemakos is the grandson of two royal men: one African, from the kingdom of Aksum; the other Artos, the fallen High King of Britain. He is also a remarkable listener and tracker. Now his country needs his skill. Even though there is a quarantine, plague is spreading through Aksum, leaving disease and death in its wake. Telemakos is recruited as the emperor’s spy. He must travel through the brutal desert to the salt mines of Afar; there, he needs to discover who has been traitor to the crown. This challenge will take all of Telemakos’s skill and strength and his ability to stay silent—for if he is discovered, there will be no mercy.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 7 Up-Wein once again takes her readers back to Aksum, Africa (present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea) during the sixth century as she continues the family saga that began with The Winter Prince (Puffin, 2003), followed by A Coalition of Lions (Viking, 2003). This third book is told through the eyes of Telemakos, the grandson of two noble men, one British and one Aksumite. When a deadly plague decimates Britain, Aksum's emperor declares a quarantine in order to keep the kingdom safe. Yet there are some, driven by profit motives, who defy this order and continue to trade with infected areas. Telemakos is called upon by his aunt, Britain's ambassador to Aksum, to discover who is responsible for defying the emperor. Doing so almost costs him his life. This book has it all-honor, loyalty, intrigue, betrayal, brutality, spies, family dynamics, love, and hate. Wein's attention to detail results in descriptions that are masterful and characters who are strong and memorable. Following the story may be challenging for some readers in that there are many foreign names, and some characters are referred to by more than one name. The novel starts a bit slowly, but then the intensity quickly picks up and readers become mesmerized. To fully appreciate the depth and scope of this installment in the ongoing series, it is recommended that the first two books be read first. A remarkable and unique story.
Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Gr. 7-12. The third adventure in Wein's Arthurian-Aksumite cycle (The Winter Prince, 1993; The Coalition of Lions, 2003), this reintroduces young Telemakos, the white-haired, dark-skinned grandson of both Artos, a British royal, and Kidane, who serves on the emperor's council in sixth-century Aksum (now Ethiopia). Telemakos is called a "freakish little crossbred snoop" and worse, but the boy's bravery, skill, and resolve never fail to honor his noble heritage. Someone has infected Afar's salt mines with a deadly plague to jack up the market value of salt, and Telemakos' aunt, Britain's ambassador to Aksum, commissions the boy to go to Afar and find the traitor. Traveling through the unforgiving desert disguised as a deaf-mute slave, Telemakos is captured and suffers terrible indignities and cruelty and an unbearable loneliness. Wein's prose is taut and elegant, creating an intense, intimate, and sometimes painful story with finely wrought, believable characters. The map of the kingdom of Aksum in the front and the family tree and glossary in the back help decipher this rich, engrossing tale, which deeply mines the human heart. Karin Snelson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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