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The Book Without Words: A Fable of Medieval Magic
     

The Book Without Words: A Fable of Medieval Magic

4.2 35
by Avi
 

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From Avi, the 2003 Newbery Award-winning author of "Crispin: The Cross of Lead," comes the story of Thorston, an alchemist who works to concoct a potion that will enable him to live forever--and keep dying and rising from the dead as a result.

Overview

From Avi, the 2003 Newbery Award-winning author of "Crispin: The Cross of Lead," comes the story of Thorston, an alchemist who works to concoct a potion that will enable him to live forever--and keep dying and rising from the dead as a result.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a starred review, PW said the "scene-setting, characterization and dialogue will quickly draw youngsters into this tale" of an aging would-be alchemist who plots to rejuvenate himself by stealing the life of his 13-year-old servant. Ages 10-14. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2005: Avi, author of the Newbery Medal-winning Crispin: The Cross of Lead as well as many other novels for young readers, returns to medieval England for this tale about magic and greed. The Book Without Words, a work of spells that appears to be just blank pages, was stolen from a monastery by a man named Thorston when he was young. Now Thorston is an old man, an alchemist, and on his deathbed he seeks a green-eyed reader who can reveal the book's secrets and grant him immortality. His servant girl, Sybil, and his talking raven, Odo, hunt for a green-eyed reader and find not one but two boys who fit the bill, one sweet and one sour; bury and rebury their not-quite-dead master; and contend with a mysterious monk who is trying to retrieve the book and with the city reeve, who wants the alchemist's gold. Endnotes explain that the story is meant to be a fable, and also tell a bit about the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, alchemy, the story's setting, and Saint Elfleda, who appears as a character. This is an appealingly creepy tale that features details of life in the Middle Ages along with a feisty heroine and a message about the dangers of greediness.
KLIATT
Avi, author of the Newbery Medal-winning Crispin: The Cross of Lead as well as many other novels for young readers, returns to medieval England for this tale about magic and greed. The Book Without Words, a work of spells that appears to be just blank pages, was stolen from a monastery by a man named Thorston when he was young. Now Thorston is an old man, an alchemist, and on his deathbed he seeks a green-eyed reader who can reveal the book's secrets and grant him immortality. His servant girl, Sybil, and his talking raven, Odo, hunt for a green-eyed reader and find not one but two boys who fit the bill, one sweet and one sour; bury and rebury their not-quite-dead master; and contend with a mysterious monk who is trying to retrieve the book and with the city reeve, who wants the alchemist's gold. Endnotes explain that the story is meant to be a fable, and also tell a bit about the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, alchemy, the story's setting, and Saint Elfleda, who appears as a character. This is an appealingly creepy tale that features details of life in the Middle Ages along with a feisty heroine and a message about the dangers of greediness. A lively read. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2005, Hyperion, 204p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Paula Rohrlick
Children's Literature
Set in eleventh-century Northumbria, England, this story opens with an old alchemist named Thorston, who is about to create a potion that will allow him to become young again and live forever. With the help of a magical book with no words, only he or another with green eyes "filled with desire" may read the book to discover the potion's secret. As he is about to complete his task, he suddenly suffers a heart attack. With a few last words to his talking raven and thirteen-year-old servant girl, Master Thorston attempts to complete his mission by having these two find, "the green eyed one." And so begins the tale of an entire town—shrouded in poverty—in a greedy search for what they believe is "gold," as misunderstood by the raven when his master said the word "old." With talking animals, supernatural elements and a suspenseful and mysterious atmosphere, Avi's book accomplishes what it apparently set out to do—entertain. An evil lawmaker; a curious monk; a nosy apothecary; two green-eyed boys; Sybil, the servant and Odo, the raven, make a dynamic, disturbing group of characters. They will leave readers wondering who to trust, what is evil and what is good. With a mystical feel similar to the Harry Potter series, this book is certain to be a hit with middle-grade readers and adults alike. 2005, Hyperion Books for Children, Ages 9 to 12.
—Kelly Roque
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-At the dawning of the Middle Ages, Thorston, an old alchemist, works feverishly to create gold and to dose himself with a concoction that will enable him to live forever. The key to his success lies in a mysterious book with blank pages that can only be read by desperate, green-eyed people. Master Bashcroft, enforcer of law and order for the city, desires Thorston's secrets for himself. Brother Wilfrid, a priest with green eyes, knows the dangers of the book and seeks to retrieve it. To this mix add Odo, a talking raven, and Sybil, a poor orphan girl whom Thorston has taken in as his servant, and you have an intriguing tale in which goodness ultimately triumphs. Avi's compelling language creates a dreary foreboding, a grim backdrop against which the characters work out their fate. The old city always seems enshrouded in nasty fog and disgusting odors. Thorston keeps consuming part of his life-giving formula and repeatedly appears to die before resuscitating as a younger person. This, plus the fact that after each "death" Sybil and the others bury him, only to have him tromp up the basement steps covered in grime, will surely keep readers turning pages. Odo's cleverness and cynicism make him a likable character, while Sybil's innate goodness will endear her to readers. Clearly this is a story with a message, a true fable. Thoughtful readers will devour its absorbing plot and humorous elements, and learn a "useful truth" along the way.-Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781423140252
Publisher:
Disney Press
Publication date:
07/25/2010
Sold by:
DISNEY PUBLISHING WORLDWIDE -EBKS
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,159,833
File size:
589 KB
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Lynne Ewing is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Moon series, and the popular companion series Sons of the Dark and Sisters of Isis. Ms. Ewing lives in Los Angeles, California, and Washington, DC.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
December 23, 1937
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Education:
University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964
Website:
http://www.avi-writer.com

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The Book Without Words: A Fable of Medieval Magic 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
AnetteTepesDracula More than 1 year ago
This is a book that would be perfect for children who aren't really interested in reading. It's easy, short, and helps them focus more on reading skills.
JohnyTwoshew More than 1 year ago
When old Thorston makes a potion to make him live longer he suddenly dies. Thorston is and old man he has raggedy gray hair. He has with blue eyes and tons of wrinkles. When Sybil finds her master dead on the floor she has to find a green eyed child to read the book without words to find out how to make gold. They need the gold to help bring her master back to life. Soon Master Bashcroft (a greedy man) finds out about the secret and tries to rush to the house to get the gold for himself. Now Sybil has to get rid of the book with the help of a talking bird named Odo. Sybil is Thorston's apprentice. She is a very strong and determined woman. Thorston is an old man trying to figure out a way of not dying. Odo is an annoying talking bird who knows some magic. Damian is the apothecary's apprentice who is really quite rude. Last but not least is Alfric, a young green eyed boy who helps Sybil along the way. The green eyed child is a boy who has to read a book that has no words. The boy is an orphan and has no family. He was abandoned for his strange looking eyes. But, this boy and only this boy, could read the book without words. This was a very amazing book that all should read. I loved the characters, the setting, and the whole plot was great. This book has many twists and turns that will not let you stop reading. This book is one of a kind. I think this book is good for all ages and is very interesting. My favorite part of the book is this:" God the mighty!" Damian screamed and leaped out of the bed. "It's him!" Sybil darted forward and clamped a hand over his mouth from behind. "Be still," she commanded. "Is that...your master?" Asked Damian. "Yes." "Is he...dead...or alive?"
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I picked up this book, it was with the intent of sharing it with my son. After all I found it in the children's section. What a mistake! Although this book is written with a less complex structure and language and is obviously intended as a child's book, the themes and descriptions are for adults only. The story itself was uninspired and seemed to rely heavily on the use of grotesque description and cruelty to others as a way to try to grasp the reader's attention. Overall the book was depressing and poorly written. I'm glad I previewed it before allowing my son to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is such a good read. Avi surely as an imagination. it is not a long book but it is very enjoyable. my twelve year old gotten from the library since i read it, and told it was a good read. She really enjoyed it so much she wants a copy for yourself, but it is out of print so will need to get a used book if we can find one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so awesome! I loved it. All of avis books r good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I' ve never read it but i will!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goodie. Good story, author uses mind :^)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a have to read book! I can't put my nook down because it is so good! It is filled wirh suspence, and reals you in like a fish. The secrets are wonderfully spectacular!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was very enjoyable i love AVI !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jack Sheldon More than 1 year ago
Wow awesome book i loved every min i it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kar Au More than 1 year ago
I read the sample,and i thought it would be a great book,i really like all tge books by avi.i think im ganna buy it.:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mary Kate Flanagan More than 1 year ago
this book is an epic novel on survival that relies on trust and friendship, will odo, the crow,and sybil, the searvent girl, be able to overcome and concore this adventure?find when you read this phenomenal book by avi.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grace Gribbon More than 1 year ago
this book was good. it was a little confusing but overall it was very dramatic and interesting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The plot of this story never really goes anywhere. You spend most of the book in the house waiting for Thorston to revive and take another stone. However, as a teacher I can see the quality this book has as an easy reader, which allows emerging readers to focus on reading without missing out on the plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago