N.M. Browne Silverboy

ISBN 13: 9781582347806

Silverboy

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A spellgrinder's apprentice like Tommo rarely survives long enough to become a spellgrinder. Most of them die of the quivers, or from wounds suffered when their turn-knife slips. Working, sleeping and eating in the cellar with magical stones, their skin acquires an eerie silvery sparkle. It's practically impossible to escape from their underground prison, and if they do, the phosphorescent glow of their skin shines like a beacon for all to see. That's why Tommo is running, running as fast as he can to the coast. He has been granted sanctuary for eight days and must leave the shores by then, or face the hangman's noose.

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About the Author:

N. M. Browne is the author of many novels for young adults including The Story of Stone and Basilisk. A former teacher, she is inspired by a lifelong love of fantasy and Celtic lore. She lives in London with her husband and four children.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 6 Up–After watching his friend die of the quivers, a disease caused by spellstone dust, Tommo, a spellgrinder's apprentice, runs away from his forced servitude at the first opportunity. Having gone without food or water for several days, he is near death when he is saved by Akenna, a girl with her own troubles. She agrees to help him escape, but they have to contend with her brutal father and Tommo's own case of the quivers. Unbeknownst to Tommo, he is displaying some thaumaturgical powers, which makes him dangerous to the Protector. Using spellstone magic, the Protector has had most of his enemies killed and his wife ensorcelled to ensure control of the land and of thaumaturgy. When Akenna also begins displaying powers, the teens think that maybe their destiny is to help overcome the Protector's hold on their country. After trials and adventures, the two are instrumental in restoring the balance of power, and everyone realizes that it would be unethical to continue to use spellstones for magic. The characters are largely archetypes who follow the expected courses of action, and most of them just aren't that exciting. The most interesting person is the Protector's wife, and readers will become engrossed in her struggle to regain her identity and freedom. The author's writing is fluid and includes high-level vocabulary, but the story development is somewhat choppy. Insatiable fantasy fans will read this, but it may not attract many others.–Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI
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