The Bird of the River

The Bird of the River

5.0 4
by Kage Baker
     
 

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In this new story set in the world of The Anvil of the World and The House of the Stag, two teenagers join the crew of a huge river barge after their addict mother is drowned. The girl and her half-breed younger brother try to make the barge their new home. As the great boat proceeds up the long river, we see a panorama of cities and cultures, and

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Overview

In this new story set in the world of The Anvil of the World and The House of the Stag, two teenagers join the crew of a huge river barge after their addict mother is drowned. The girl and her half-breed younger brother try to make the barge their new home. As the great boat proceeds up the long river, we see a panorama of cities and cultures, and begin to perceive patterns in the pirate attacks that happen so frequently in the river cities. Eliss, the girl, becomes a sharp-eyed spotter of obstacles in the river for the barge, and more than that, one who perceives deeply.

A young boy her age, Krelan, trained as a professional assassin, has come aboard, seeking the head of a dead nobleman, so that there might be a proper burial. But the head proves as elusive as the real explanation behind the looting of cities, so he needs Eliss’s help. And then there is the massive Captain of the barge, who can perform supernatural tricks, but prefers to stay in his cabin and drink.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fans mourning Baker’s death earlier this year will be comforted by this gentle conclusion to 2009’s The House of the Stag and 2010’s The Anvil of the World. Teen Elissa is left orphaned and guilt-ridden when her addict mother dies in a diving accident. She supports herself and her younger half-brother by odd-jobbing on a huge river barge, visiting colorful towns on their way upstream. As Elissa gradually becomes invaluable to the Bird’s crew by spotting dangerous river snags, she also learns to see through human subterfuge while accompanying Krelan, lesser son of an assassin family, who’s investigating the murder of one of his family’s wealthy clients. Satisfyingly exotic local color, a boatload of convincing characters with a captain touched by the supernatural, and a realistic treatment of young love make this an unusually sensitive growing-up tale. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
From Baker, who died in January 2010, a third fantasy set in a world inhabited by red-skinned Children of the Sun, green-skinned, forest-dwelling Yendri and tusked, barbaric demons (The House of the Stag, 2008, etc.). At the urging of her children, teenaged Eliss and ten-year-old, half-Yendri Alder, drug-addicted diver Falena signs on the huge river-maintenance barge of the title for the long voyage up and down a vast unnamed river. All divers are female, and their primary job is to secure "snags," trees caught underwater that cause navigation hazards. Once recovered, snags are a source of valuable timber-the Yendri don't take kindly to the felling of live trees. Then when diving for a snag, Falena confronts a headless corpse, suffers a heart attack and is dead before she can be hauled back aboard. Eliss finds gainful employment as masthead lookout, a job she's very good at. Joining the vessel as a busboy is Krelan, whose family works for the aristocratic Diamondcuts and whose purpose is to find and return the missing head. Alder tires of jibes about "greenies" and runs off into the forest to find his father. The barge works its way up the river, calling at towns that have been or are about to be attacked by curiously well-organized and well-informed bandits. A vivid setting, then, with minimal fantasy elements, agreeably complemented by solid plotting, mysteries, surprises and characters that grow in the telling. A sparkling farewell from a writer whose illustrious career proved all too brief.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765322968
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
07/20/2010
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

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