Welford, Ross The 1000 Year Old Boy

ISBN 13: 9780525707455

The 1000 Year Old Boy

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9780525707455: The 1000 Year Old Boy
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A heartstopping, poignant, epic adventure story about a boy destined to live forever, who only wants to grow up.

Without death, life is just existence.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live forever? Well, Alfie Monk can tell you. He may seem like an ordinary eleven-year-old boy, but he's actually more than a thousand years old--and remembers the last Viking invasion of England, not to mention the French Revolution and both World Wars. Way back in the tenth century, he and his mother were given the alchemical secret to eternal life. But when everything Alfie knows is destroyed in a fire, and the modern world intrudes, he must embark on a mission--along with friends Aidan and Roxy--to find a way to reverse the process and grow up like a regular boy. This astonishing new novel from the author of Time Traveling with a Hamster, told in alternating perspectives by Alfie and Aidan, is a tour de force--a sweeping epic that takes you on an unforgettable, breathtaking adventure and asks big questions about the meaning of life.

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About the Author:

ROSS WELFORD worked as a business journalist before becoming a freelance writer and television producer. He is the author of TIME TRAVELING WITH A HAMSTER, called "smart, engaging, and heartwarming" in a starred review by Booklist and named both a New York Public Library and Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the year, as well as WHAT NOT TO DO IF YOU TURN INVISIBLE. Follow him on Twitter at @rosswelford.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

South Shields, A.D. 1014

 

 

We sat on the low cliff, Mam and I, overlooking the river mouth, and watched the smoke from our village over on the other side pluming into the sky and mixing with the clouds.

 

Everyone calls the river the Tyne. Back then, we pronounced it “Teen,” but it was just our word for river.

 

As we sat, and Mam wept and cursed with fury, we heard screams from across the water. The smell of smoke from the burning wooden fort on the clifftop drifted toward us. People--our neighbors mostly--huddled on the opposite bank, but Dag the ferryman was not going to go back for them. Not now: he would be killed too. He had run away from us, stammering apologies, as soon as his raft had touched the shore.

 

Above the people cowering on the bank, the men who had come in boats appeared. They paused--arrogantly, fearlessly--then walked over to their prey, swords and axes at the ready. I saw some people entering the water to try to escape. They would not get far: a smaller boat waited mid-river to intercept them.

 

I lowered my head and buried it in Mam’s shawl, but she pulled it away and wiped her eyes. Her voice trembled with rage.

 

“Sey, Alve. Sey!” That is how we spoke then. “Old Norse” it is called now, or a dialect of it. We didn’t call it anything. She meant, “Look! Look at what they are doing to us, those men who have come from the north in their boats.”

 

But I could not. Getting up, I walked in a kind of daze for some distance, but I could still hear the murder, still smell the smoke. I felt wretched for being alive. Behind me, Mam pulled the little wooden cart that was loaded with whatever stuff we’d managed to fit onto Dag’s river ferry.

 

My cat, Biffa, walked beside us, darting into the grass on the side of the path in pursuit of a mouse or a grasshopper. Normally this made me smile, but I felt as empty as if I had been cut open.

 

A mile or two on, Mam and I found a cave in a deep, sheltered bay. The sun was strong enough to use the old fire-glass that had belonged to Da: a curved, polished crystal that focused the sunlight into a thin beam that would start a fire. I was scared the raiders would come after us, but Mam said they would not, and she was right. We had escaped.

 

Three days later, we saw their boats heading out to sea again and I made the biggest mistake of my life. A mistake that I waited a thousand years to put right.

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