A City in Winter

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Driven to avenge the murder of her royal parents and reclaim her lost kingdom, a daring young heroine and would-be queen journeys to the beseiged city on the plain to seek out its evil conqueror, the Usurper. There she is befriended by two unlikely rebels who shield her from the Usurper and his malevolent legions, even while destiny propels her toward an inevitable confrontation - and the beginning of an epic battle. Mark Helprin's spellbinding tale reveals a city veiled in snow, at once divine and deadly. ...
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Reprint Good [ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ] [ Edition: Reprint ] Publisher: Penguin Putnam Pub Date: 1/1/1998 Binding: VHS Pages: 1.

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1998 Audio Cassette Good Audio cassettes, and case in good condition. Unabridged.

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1998 Audio Book Good Three RELIABLE audio cassettes withdrawn from the library in the clamshell case published by Recorded Books. Some shelf wear and library markings to the ... box and the cassettes. The audio tapes are sturdy and presentable. Enjoy this UNABRIDGED audio performance! Read more Show Less

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1998 Audio Book Good Three Audio cassette tapes in the clamshell case published by Recorded Books withdrawn from the library. Some shelf wear and library markings to the box ... and the cassettes. The tapes sit inside, tested and clear sounding! Enjoy this worthwhile unabridged audio performance. Read more Show Less

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Possible retired library copy, some have markings or writing. May or may not include accessories such as CD or access codes.

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Audiobook CASSETTE Very Good 0788722182 Ex-library, tape plays perfectly.

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Audiobook CASSETTE Good 0788722182 Used book. Previously owned and is blemished. Cover rubbed w/ corner and binding wear. Interior page markings (highlighting/writing) and ... owner's name. An inventory sticker on the back and a used sticker on the spine. Textblock has a marking. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Driven to avenge the murder of her royal parents and reclaim her lost kingdom, a daring young heroine and would-be queen journeys to the beseiged city on the plain to seek out its evil conqueror, the Usurper. There she is befriended by two unlikely rebels who shield her from the Usurper and his malevolent legions, even while destiny propels her toward an inevitable confrontation - and the beginning of an epic battle. Mark Helprin's spellbinding tale reveals a city veiled in snow, at once divine and deadly. Evocatively told and beautifully rendered, A City in Winter will enchant readers of all ages. Stunning illustrations by Chris Van Allsburg lend a palpable richness to the pages, capturing all the exhilarating expanse of the story - from the pulse of the masses in the palace square to the wrath of the bloodthirsty Usurper who scours the city streets after curfew, to the opulence of an intimate dinner party set for a thousand guests....
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A none-too-kid-friendly mixture of war story and bureaucratic satire, this tale of a 10-year-old queen's quest to regain her throne suffers from a proliferation of heavy-handed and portentous philosophical passages. "I began my journey to the city in blindness and confidence," says the queen, "which, if you think of it, is how we must all live, given the nature of our origin and the certainty of our destination." Helprin (Winter's Tale; A Soldier of the Great War) is at his weakest in his panoramas of an epic war, which are frequently confusing; and strongest in conveying the farcical and magical aspects of the evil Usurper's empire. For example, the enslaved queen is put to work in the yam section of the palace's starch kitchens; she later tours a storage structure of over 600 floors, including a shop for the repair of winter clothing used by podiatrists attached to the rhinoceros-horn carving apprenticeship program. Two-time Caldecott winner Van Allsburg emphasizes the story's dramatic moments rather than its humor. With characteristic poetic stillness and rich depth of color, his paintings cast a warm glow over the icy city. Although the deliberately cryptic narrative style makes for lackluster reading, the book's handsome design with its use of page ornaments and its production on high-quality paper will make it attractive to collectors of finely illustrated works. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
VOYA - Meg Wilson
Van Allsburg's beautiful illustrations enhance this fantasy tale of a young girl who, at age ten, discovers that she is the rightful Queen of her country. As events rapidly unfold, the heroine transforms from an innocent mountain child into the motivation for millions of revolutionists to wage a lengthy war against the evil Usurper and restore the Queen to her throne. The heroine herself tells the story to her unborn child, who will be born into a world where war still rages against the Usurper. As the Queen reminisces, the reader learns of her bizarre return to her country, aided by many supporters who hide their loyalty to her from the all-controlling Usurper. "Selections" occur after curfew, when soldiers ride through the city gathering any who venture out; many of these are "selected" to die; others, like our heroin, are set to work in the vast kitchens of the palace. With the help of the Usurper's many enemies, the heroine defies the Usurper and fulfills the prophesy of her return. If the plot summary seems a little vague, it may be because the story is at times vague, confusing, and hard to believe, even for a devoted fantasy reader. I read the first three pages thinking the narrator was a man, then reached Van Allsburg's full-page, color illustration of a pregnant woman surveying the smoking chimneys of a city in winter. OH! Now it makes more sense; let me read those three pages again! The audience at which A City in Winter is aimed is difficult to determine. Readers as young as nine or ten may identify with the protagonist, although the retrospective account as related by an adult makes the child wise beyond her years. The blurb on the book's dust jacket claims that it "will enchant readers of all ages," and it may indeed work best as a classroom or family read-aloud. Van Allsberg's illustrations definitely enrich the story; I found myself turning ahead to look at them. A City in Winter will probably be an additional purchase for most libraries. It may circulate best in children's sections rather than Young Adult, because of the youthful protagonist, illustrations and oversized format. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8).
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-A beautiful, if pointless, book. The tale begins with a pregnant queen who is writing her story for her unborn child. She recounts the many murders in her family by the usurper, and her own quest, at age 10, to regain the throne. She speaks of the hardships of war, the grief of parting with loved ones, and the weight of meeting her responsibilities. She ends the story as the actual uprising against the usurper begins, but readers already know how things work out, so all loose ends are neatly tied together. There is a detached tone in the narrator's voice that creates a dreamy quality, which allows readers to move through the story without actually getting involved in it. That dreaminess carries over into the images Helprin uses, and the surreal twists and turns of this convoluted plot. The text, which ranges from tedious double talk to smug inner musings by the child queen, plods along with a destination in mind, though it is too obviously manipulated in several places. Helprin's writing style does add a certain richness to the text; however, it is merely frosting on a cardboard cake. The characters are dismally shallow. Van Allsburg's 13 illustrations are done in his typical style-odd angles, somber colors, and high definition. They competently reflect the text but have the same sterile feel as the narrative. As a story to be cherished by readers of any age, this offering simply doesn't work. It is much too complicated for the elementary crowd and older readers capable of wading through it will undoubtedly prefer something with more substance. J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, or Susan Cooper, to name a few, provide far better tales.-Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA
Kirkus Reviews
Two great fantasists weave threads teased from their previous collaboration, Swan Lake (1989), into a stylish tale of loyalty and rebellion set in a city of Brobdingnagian proportions.

Having been raised in secret by her beloved tutor, a princess sets out to confront the brutal upstart who killed her parents and grandparents. She finds in his capitol a million loyalists and former soldiers, all united by an oath of rebellion, waiting for a leader whose coming, a prophecy claims, will be heralded by a dimmed sun and a burning angel. Helprin's whimsical tone and satiric character studies will appeal mostly to adults, but the sheer scale of the city he envisions will enthrall readers of any age; just to get into the palace, the princess becomes one of three thousand employees in the yam section (not to be confused with those for potatoes, rices, and meat pie crusts) of the starch kitchens, later working her way up to flower refresher in one of the smaller dining rooms (for "only a thousand guests"). Van Allsburg's 13 tableaux vary in style: Some are drawn and painted with exquisite precision, others a bit more free in line and composition. The usurper is a towering, scarred figure; the princess is a small, tidy child positively aglow with regal self-possession. As this is framed as a memoir, the outcome is never in doubt; readers will take the most pleasure here not from the plot, but from the richly imagined details.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780788722189
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 9/1/1998
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged

Meet the Author

Mark Helprin
Mark Helprin
A conservative commentator who has served in the Israeli army may not seem the likeliest source of whimsy, but Mark Helprin's tales are written from the soul of a poet. Soldiers and burglars figure prominently in his work, but the stories are not tales of intrigue; they focus more on love, morality and far-flung travels.

Biography

Mark Helprin, a novelist, is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal. He is also a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute and a fellow of the American Academy in Rome. In 1996 he served as a foreign policy adviser to presidential candidate Bob Dole.

His books include A Dove of the East & Other Stories, Refiner's Fire, Ellis Island & Other Stories, Winter's Tale, Swan Lake, A Soldier of the Great War, Memoir From Antproof Case, A City in Winter, and The Veil of Snows.

Mr. Helprin was raised on the Hudson and in the British West Indies. He has degrees from Harvard College and Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Author biography from The Wall Street Journal.

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    1. Hometown:
      Upstate New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 28, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      A.B., Harvard University, 1969; A.M., 1972. Postgraduate study at Oxford University, 1976-77.

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