Deborah Ellis A Company of Fools

ISBN 13: 9781550417197

A Company of Fools

3.67 avg rating
( 184 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9781550417197: A Company of Fools


Canadian Library Association Book of the Year, Honour Book

Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction, Honour Book

Mr. Christie Silver Book Award

Ruth Schwartz Award, finalist

Manitoba Young Readers_ Choice Award, nominee

Rocky Mountain Book Award, nominee

Before Micah came to St. Luc's, he knew how to beg, how to steal, and how to run from a beating. He did not know how to comb his hair, walk in line when he felt like running, or obey anyone's whim but his own. He was a stranger in a strange land. If it had been me, I would have found a way to disappear inside myself until the strangeness wore off.

Micah was not like me.

Henri has been living within abbey walls all his life, first in the care of nuns, then as a choirboy at St. Luc's, not far from Paris. He expects to spend the rest of his life there, copying books in the Scriptorium with the other brothers, and singing Mass in the great cathedral.

Then Micah arrives, a streetwise ragamuffin with the voice of an angel, saved from certain hanging to sing for God instead of coins. Micah comes like a fresh breeze into dead places, bringing exuberant joy at a time when Henri most needs it.

For the plague is coming, the grim reaper that will slash at the very roots of Henri's security. And neither Henri nor Micah nor anyone else in their world will ever be the same.

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About the Author:

Deborah Ellis was born in Northern Ontario but grew up in Paris, Ontario. Like many writers, she was a creative loner as a child, at odds with formal education in her youth, and a voracious reader at all times. As an adult, Deborah has been occupied with many issues of interest to women, such as peace, education and equality in society at home and abroad. She works at a group home for women in Toronto, reading and writing in her spare time. In 2006 Deborah was named to the Order of Ontario.

Review:


"...the sudden, devastating changes wrought by the plague on orderly monastic life is ably captured, and middle-graders fascinated by matters medieval will want to add this to their reading list."
-- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"...like all good books, there are many threads that can be followed and teased to weave into the fabric of the school curriculum."
-- ResourceLinks

"Readers will be amazed and horrified by this intimate chronicle of true friendship, laughter and the smell of Death...Ellis's characters are richly developed, and the desire to know what happens to Micah and Henri will pull readers along. The plot spans three years, but Ellis manages to show all the key scenes with sharp dialogue and detailed action. Readers will become familiar with religious life in the abbey, the gruesome horrors of the Plague, and how superstition outmatched scientific knowledge during the 14th century. The abbey diagram, historical note, Plague map, and glossary further clarify the historical setting."
-- Books in Canada

"The voice of Henri, a choir student in the Abbey of St. Luc in 1348, is clear, thoughtful, and sweet as he chronicles the events of the previous year, when the Black Death came to France and when Micah came to the abbey. Brother Bartholomew is always bringing odd things back from his travels, like the muddy stick that became a rose bush, and he brings filthy, noisy Micah too: the boy can sing like an angel. Henri, quiet, bookish, and in love with the order and rule of the abbey, is astonished by Micah, who does as he pleases. Then comes the plague, and Paris is no longer a place of bright wonders. Micah and Henri hatch the idea of singing to cheer the populace, so they become the Company of Fools, providing respite from the constant funeral dirges. What happens to Micah_s song, and to Henri, makes a vivid chronicle of monks, good and bad, and intentions, good and bad, set in the horrific context of a plague year. Quicksilver language and strong imagery propel a powerful historical tale."
-- Booklist

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Ellis, Deborah
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