Jeff Stone practices the martial arts daily. He has worked as a photographer, an editor, a maintenance man, a technical writer, a ballroom dance instructor, a concert promoter, and a marketing director for companies that design schools, libraries, and skateboard parks. Like the heroes of The Five Ancestors series, Mr. Stone was adopted when he was an infant. He began searching for his birthmother when he was 18; he found her 15 years later. The author lives with his wife and two children in Carmel, IN. From the Hardcover edition.
Gr 6-9-Jeff Stone's historical adventure (Random, 2005), set in 17th-century China, features well-described kung fu moves, a tigercub, flatulence, and several other details sure to appeal to middle school boys. Fu, "the tiger," one of several boy monks who must escape when their temple is attacked, undergoes a breathtaking range of adventures as he briefly adopts an orphan tiger cub, is himself caged in a rural village, is freed by a troop of monkeys, and continues in pursuit of his nemesis, the thief who stole his master's secret scrolls. Medieval China is evoked vividly in all its smells and ethical dilemmas. Narrator Kiki Barrerra brings a broad range of sometimes peculiar voices to the cast of men and boys, some of whom speak in drawls, and all of whom are deep throated in spite of most being prepubescent. This high-octane adventure is loaded with period details such as the early use of muskets and clan politics. Dialogue has a definite modern twist to it, but that won't trouble the target audience. A perfect choice for kung fu movie fans.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Set in 17th-century China (aka "4348-Year of the Tiger"), Stone's debut novel launches his riveting Five Ancestors series. Five orphans live at Cangzhen Temple with their Grandmaster, and consider themselves brothers; "each had mastered a style of animal kung fu that reflected both his personality and his body type." Their names are Cantonese for monkey, snake, crane, dragon and-this novel's focus-tiger. As the novel opens, Ying (Cantonese for "eagle"), a 16-year-old former student, returns to the school with the Emperor's army to retrieve the "dragon scrolls" ("He yearns to be an all-powerful dragon," Grandmaster explains) and also to exact revenge on the Grandmaster, whom he blames for the death of his best friend. The brothers learn that Ying may harbor a deeper motive ("Grandmaster wasn't the holy man everyone thinks he is," Ying tells them). In a titillating foreshadowing, Grandmaster warns the boys not to kill Ying: "Your pasts are interwoven with Ying's and so are your futures." While Ying battles his teacher, 12-year-old Fu ("tiger") retrieves the scrolls and flees, and the five brothers "scatter into the four winds." Fu spares the life of one of Ying's soldiers, who then repays the favor at a pivotal moment; Fu and Malao ("monkey") each bond with their animal counterparts, who also aid them at key junctures. Stone credibly portrays Fu as alternately sympathetic and maddening, true to his adolescent nature, and the martial arts scenes will keep even reluctant readers flipping through the pages, and anxious for volume two, Monkey. Ages 10-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.