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In Firebird, Lackey draws inspiration from the classic Russian fairy tale to present a marvelous coming-of-age fantasy with a most unusual setting: medieval Russia before unification under the Tsars.
Ilya is the son of the boyar, a Russian prince. In his father's rough-and-tumble household, Ilya is persecuted by his large, doltish older brothers, who delight in tormenting him and making him seem the fool. His only friends are three old people: a priest, a magician, and a woman who toils in the palace kitchens.
From them Ilya learns faith, a smattering of magic, and the power of love - all of which he will need desperately, for his life is about to be turned upside down.
The boyar's magnificent cherry orchard is visited at midnight by the legendary Firebird - a gigantic, magnificent hawk whose wings seem to be made of flame. Ilya's father and brothers swear to capture the magical creature - but each fails. When Ilya disobeys his father and makes his own attempt to catch the Firebird, he is banished.
The young man journeys through a fantastical Russia full of magical mazes, enchanted creatures, and untold dangers. Gifted with the ability to understand the speech of animals, Ilya saves the life of a fox, who becomes his most steadfast companion.
As happens in the best fairy tales, Ilya falls in love with an enchanted princess. To free her, he must battle a cantankerous wizard and a powerful dragon. Magic swirls throughout this battle as Ilya uses his wits, his warrior's and magical skills, and some very unusual allies to save the day and win true love.
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Mercedes Lackey never puts a foot wrong in this confident, funny fairy-tale adaptation. Tsar Ivan has eight sons; all are brutes like himself except for happy-go-lucky, least-favored Ilya. Cast out through the machinations of his jealous, competitive brothers, Ilya stumbles onto an enchanted castle, distressed damsels, a garden of questing princes turned to stone, and the secret of the shapeshifting woman called the Firebird. In love with a captive princess, Ilya enlists the Firebird and a charming, crafty vixen to help him battle the sorcerer. But is settling down with a princess what "happily ever after" really means?About the Author:
Mercedes Lackey is the author of the bestselling Valdemar series, the Obsidian Trilogy (The Outstretched Shadow, To Light a Candle, and When Darkness Falls), the Enduring Flame trilogy (The Phoenix Unchained, The Phoenix Endangered, and The Phoenix Transformed), and the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms. She has written many other books, including Trio of Sorcery, Phoenix and Ashes, Sacred Ground, The Fairy Godmother, and Alta. Lackey is the co-author, with Andre Norton, of the Halfblood Chronicles, including Elvenborn. Mercedes Lackey was born in Chicago and graduated from Purdue University. She has worked as an artist's model, a computer programmer, and for American Airlines, and has written lyrics and recorded more than fifty songs. She lives in Oklahoma.
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