N.M. Browne Basilisk

ISBN 13: 9781582349107

Basilisk

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9781582349107: Basilisk

This evocative story of greed, power, and deception sweeps from the underground cave network of the Combers, living like spiders among the endless tunnels and ropes, to the beautiful city inhabited by Abovers. When a young man named Rej discovers the body of a murdered Abover in the combes, their worlds begin to draw closer. He swears vengeance for the murdered man and takes a great risk in going above. There he is placed in the care of Donna, a beautiful young woman trapped in her life as a worker. Food and clothing are rationed, while slaves and workers are forced to live in meager barracks. But Rej and Donna have more in common than a miserable existence; they have weirdly identical dreams of dragons flying in a clear blue sky. They are even more surprised to learn that the city's cruel leader, the Arkel, is determined to find a way to bring just such dreams to life in order to literally scare the population to death. The connection Rej and Donna make leads them on a dramatic adventure to save their loved ones from the Arkel's terrifying plans. N. M. Browne has created an unforgettable world in this richly layered narrative.

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Review:

Young Rej wakes up Below, in his underground home, after dreaming of a dragon flying in a clear blue sky. Sixteen-year-old Donna wakes up Above in the town of Lunnzia, after dreaming the exact same thing--except she recognizes the dragon as Arché, the creator dragon whom God sent to seed the world, and who would one day destroy it as a basilisk. Clue by clue, we learn that the fates of these two young people are interconnected, and the suspenseful story unfolds as it alternates between their two perspectives--until, that is, they are united in Chapter 10.

Tall, long-limbed Rej is "a comber, survivor, debtor, occasional beloved of the Lady Luck." Beautiful Donna is a scribe, given up by her family when she was 12 to serve the current anti-aristocratic regime, ruled by the tyrannical Arkel and the Council of Ten. The two teenagers meet when Rej must go Above to see if his dream-dragons are real...and with a somewhat bloodier mission in mind. When he meets Donna, they discover that they share the same dreams, and soon begin to uncover a host of secrets about the plans of the Abovers to destroy the "combers" who live Below in the catacombs. At great personal risk to themselves, Rej and Donna investigate the dreaded Basilisk Contrivance, which, fueled by the mysterious "Basilisk's Breath," could literally scare Arkel's enemies to death.

In British author N.M. Browne's Basilisk, readers will find a colorful cast of characters, the hint of romance, a wallop of political intrigue, and a pointed societal commentary on a nation at war, where rich, corrupt leaders deny their joyless citizens freedom and individuality. To open the book is to enter a dark, velvety, poisonous, drug-hazed world, where no one can be trusted, and fear, greed, corruption, betrayal, and murder are a way of life. Still, glimmers of love, altruism, courage, and unshakeable loyalty shine through like cracks of sunshine into the underground. (Ages 13 and older) --Karin Snelson

About the Author:

N. M. Browne is a huge fantasy fan and is committed to and passionate about writing quality books for children. She lives in London, and is the author of Hunted, Warriors of Alavna, Warriors of Camlann, and The Story of Stone.

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