Henry T. Aubin is an award-winning journalist for the "Montreal Gazette" and the author of three non-fiction books for adults. This is his first work for younger readers. Stephen Taylor is the illustrator of several books for children, including "Music from the Sky" and the award-winning "One More Border." He lives in Toronto.
Gr 6-10-Aubin draws his audience into Egypt in the eighth century B.C.E. with his sharp, sympathetic focus on 14-year-old Nebamon. Nebi survives a brutal attack led by an Egyptian count who has decided to betray his prior allegiance to Piankhy, king of Kush and ruler of southern Egypt through his sister, Princess Amonirdis. The princess recognizes Nebi's bravery and loyalty in struggling so hard to bring her news of the treachery, and the boy is privileged to join the medical corps that will travel north with the army, intent on saving Egypt from division and those who would cooperate with the imperial ambitions of a resurgent Assyria. By depicting major battles, their aftermaths, and the disagreements of Piankhy's officials and officers, Aubin keeps the pages turning, even while exposing readers to tactics, weapons, and philosophical differences. Nebi's maturation, both physically and emotionally, and his growing friendship with Prince Shebitku, provides a small-scale, human counterweight to the larger events. The book's climax may both please and disappoint readers. Piankhy's triumph is well earned, though his insistence on forgiveness of rebels may rankle youngsters longing for revenge. Likewise Nebi, when finally in a position to avenge the brutality that opens the book, realizes what hatred can do and steps back from doing what "feels right." The writing is solid and interesting rather than artistic and distinguished. Even so, this is a well-crafted and intriguing adventure that exposes students to a different world, even as it offers them danger, excitement, and the opportunity to ponder serious moral issues.-Coop Renner, Hillside Elementary, El Paso, TX Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
A fine yarn -- a good old-fashioned page-turner with a solid historical grounding. Fast-paced and exciting. Finalist, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction Finalist, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction This is a well-crafted and intriguing adventure that exposes students to a different world, even as it offers them danger, excitement, and the opportunity to ponder serious moral issues.--Coop Renner"School Library Journal" (05/01/2007)