Isabel Allende was born in 1942, and is the niece of Salvador Allende, who went on to become famous as the elected President of Chile deposed in a CIA-backed coup. She worked as a journalist, playwright and children's writer in Chile until 1974 and then in Venezuela until 1984. Her first novel for adults, 'The House of the Spirits', was published in Spanish in 1982, beginning life as a letter to her dying grandfather. It was an international sensation, and ever since all her books have been acclaimed and adored in numberless translations worldwide.
Fans of Allende's action fantasy City of the Beasts will be eager to sink their teeth into this equally tantalizing sequel. If the first book focused on environmental themes, this one takes on a strong spiritual flavor. Here Alexander (who has just turned 16) and his journalist grandmother, Kate, are off to the Himalayas accompanied by Brazilian native Nadia Santos (Eagle), whom they met during their excursion to the Amazon in the previous novel. Their mission is to find out about the Forbidden Kingdom, a remote mountain country that holds the invaluable Golden Dragon, a jewel-encrusted statue with magical powers. Alex and his companions are welcomed into the Kingdom of the Golden Dragon, a place where greed, hostility and crime do not exist. While they are becoming acquainted with the benevolent king, a master thief and crew of evil "Blue Warriors" carry out a scheme to steal the precious statue and kidnap the king along with some young women of the village. Before long, Alexander finds himself once again tangled up in a dangerous quest as he sets off to retrieve the Golden Dragon and save the lives of the hostages. As the author promotes ideals of compassion, forgiveness and asceticism, she expertly blends all the ingredients of a great epic adventure. Her complex heroes, suspenseful tests of courage and the mystic aura that surrounds the story add depth and excitement to a classic battle of good versus evil. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Praise for City of the Beasts:'Written with Allende's characteristic verve, City of the Beasts is the kind of accomplishment to show young readers that there's more to life than Harry Potter.' Literary Review'A vivid fable... Allende's prose soars' Guardian'Marvellous, marvel-filled... Beautifully written and utterly entrancing' Independent on Sunday
Gr 5-8-Buddhist monk Tensing and his disciple, Prince Dil Bahadur, are journeying through the Himalayan peaks in search of healing plants when they come face to face with a tribe of once-fierce Yetis. These legendary half-human, half-ape monsters inhabit a lush valley heated by thermal pools and hot springs and are unaware that it's the toxic minerals in the water that has weakened them and slowed their rate of reproduction. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Alexander Cold; his intrepid writer/explorer grandmother, Kate; and his soul mate, Nadia Santos, daughter of the guide who led Kate and Alex on their previous expedition into the South American rain forest, described in City of the Beasts (HarperCollins, 2002), are off on a new International Geographic expedition. They are headed for the Kingdom of the Golden Dragon, a small, isolated sovereignty in the Himalayas. Criminals are on the same flight; they intend to steal the Golden Dragon, the fabulous jewel-encrusted statue that is both a symbol and a guide for the country, and to abduct its king to interpret the statue's oracular predictions. All of these characters are about to come together in another breathtaking Indiana Jones-style adventure. When Nadia is one of a group of young girls kidnapped by mercenaries, Tensing, Dil Bahadur, and even the Yetis become involved in the rescue. Allende combines empathetic young characters; exciting adventures; and an intelligent, sympathetic look at cultures, customs, and creatures of a remote and fairly unknown area. This is a must-read for fans of the first book, but it stands completely on its own. The biggest question readers are left with at the end is simply, where will these three go next?-Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.