Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Crispin (Paperback))

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9780786816583: Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Crispin (Paperback))

H "Avi's plot is engineered for maximum thrills, with twists, turns, and treachery aplenty. . . . A page-turner to delight Avi's fans, it will leave readers hoping for a sequel."-Publishers Weekly (starred review) H " . . . [T]he book is a page-turner from beginning to end . . . [A] meticulously crafted story, full of adventure, mystery, and action." -School Library Journal (starred review) "Historical fiction at its finest."-VOYA

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Review:

Genre-jumping author Avi clocks in here with his 50th book, Crispin: The Cross of Lead, an action-packed historical narrative that follows the frantic flight of a 13-year-old peasant boy across 14th-century England.

After being declared a "wolf's head" by his manor's corrupt steward for a crime he didn't commit (meaning that anyone can kill him like a common animal--and collect a reward), this timid boy has to flee a tiny village that's the only world he's ever known. But before our protagonist escapes, Avi makes sure that we're thoroughly briefed on the injustices of feudalism--the countless taxes cottars must pay, the constant violence, the inability of a flawed church to protect its parishioners, etc. Avi then folds in the book's central mystery just as the boy is leaving: "Asta's son," as he's always been known, learns from the village priest that his Christian name is Crispin, and that his parents' origins--and fates--might be more perplexing than he ever imagined.

Providing plenty of period detail (appropriately gratuitous for the age group) and plenty of chase-scene suspense, Avi tells a good story, develops a couple of fairly compelling characters, and even manages to teach a little history lesson. (Fortunately, kids won't realize that they're learning about England's peasant revolt of 1381 until it's far too late.) (Ages 10 to 14) --Paul Hughes

About the Author:

Some pretty amazing things have happened to Avi. It all began in 1970, with "Things That Sometimes Happen, " his first book. His novels include two Newbery Honor Books, "Nothing but the Truth" and "The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, " also the winner of the "Boston Globe-Horn Book" Award. Avi's fifty books tell mysterious, fantastical, and historical tales, and even an animal tale or two, like "Poppy" (also a "Boston Globe-Horn Book" Award recipient) and "The Christmas Rat." He lives with his family in Denver, Colorado.

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