Far Traveler

Far Traveler

4.0 2
by Rebecca Tingle

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When King Edward gives his niece Elfwyn two choices--marry one of his allies or become a nun--Wyn is at a loss to decide. Her strong, warrior mother has just died, so it's impossible to know what she would have wanted.

Wyn takes the first risk of her life and flees. Disguising herself as a boy, she adopts a new identity as a traveling storyteller called Widsith (far


When King Edward gives his niece Elfwyn two choices--marry one of his allies or become a nun--Wyn is at a loss to decide. Her strong, warrior mother has just died, so it's impossible to know what she would have wanted.

Wyn takes the first risk of her life and flees. Disguising herself as a boy, she adopts a new identity as a traveling storyteller called Widsith (far traveler) and reinvents herself, drawing upon the books she has loved all her life. Soon she finds her fate inextricably tied with the dark-eyed King Wilfrid, who knows her only as Widsith, and wants her help in a plot against her own uncle.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a starred review of The Edge on the Sword, PW predicted, "Medieval history buffs will be enthralled by Tingle's first novel." In its sequel, Far Traveler by Rebecca Tingle, lfwyn, now 17, escapes the imprisonment of her uncle, King Edward, after the death of her mother. Disguised as a bard, she becomes intricately involved in the intrigues of the 10th-century British court. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
In the time of King Edward, Danes are causing trouble in the north. But in Mercia, Aelfwyn leads a carefree life. She enjoys studying ancient stories and writing with a tutor and often runs off to explore the countryside. When her mother, Aethelflaed, who wisely rules Mercia for her brother, the king, suddenly dies, Aelfwyn's future doesn't look good. The king wants to marry Aelfwyn off to an elderly nobleman or send her to a nunnery. Aelfwyn hates both ideas, so she cuts her hair, dons boy's clothes, and runs away, adopting a persona as Widsith (Far Traveler). Living on the road is even harder than she expected, but with her natural wit and the kindness of some travelers, she becomes a scop, or professional story teller. After coaching by a royal friend, she becomes skilled in her art. Finally her storytelling leads to a dramatic climax involving the king and her dearest friend, who feels betrayed. A snippet from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles mentioning Aethelflaed and her daughter Aelfwyn, inspired the author to write two enthralling books. The first, The Edge of the Sword (which received many honors including ALA Best Book for Young Adults), tells Aethelflaed's story. This book also deserves such recognition and will leave readers hoping for a sequel. The author, who has been a Rhodes Scholar, was drawn into the world of Anglo-Saxon poetry through her interest in dead languages, Latin and Old English. An annotated map shows locations mentioned in the story. 2005, G P Putnam Sons, Ages 10 up.
—Janet Crane Barley
Life in tenth-century Britain is idyllic for sixteen-year-old ¦lfwyn and her cousin ¦thelstan. Lady ¦thelflµd, ¦lfwyn's mother, the beloved protector of Mercia, is the representative of her brother, King Edward of Wessex. ¦lfwyn's life is one of academic studies. Although she is awed by her mother's skills as a warrior, ¦lfwyn's timidity has kept her from taking an interest in governing. Things change when ¦thelflµd dies suddenly, and ¦lfwyn is thrust into the spotlight. The Mercians expect her to continue her mother's rule, but King Edward plans her marriage to an ally to secure his lands. And a rebel, Wilfred of Northumbria, wants ¦lfwyn to join his forces against Edward. When Wilfred's meeting with ¦lfwyn is discovered, Edward gives her two choices: political marriage or life in a convent. Summoning her courage, ¦lfwyn escapes. Disguised as a boy named Widsith (far traveler), she uses her academic skills to join Wilfred's men as a scop (old English for a poet), eventually securing her uncle's kingdom while saving Wilfred from death at Edward's hands. For readers with an interest in history, Tingle's novel, a sequel to The Edge on the Sword (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2001) provides an accurate account of political intrigue and the role of poetry and oral tradition in medieval society. For readers without a historical frame of reference, it is a well-crafted adventure story with a believable, reluctant hero. That there are no clear villains makes the resolution of the conflict less straightforward but more interesting. The novel is a good choice for middle school readers, particularly girls, who will relate to ¦lfwyn's struggles. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P J S (Better than most, marred only byoccasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2005, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 240p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Christine Sanderson
AElfwyn's story is an educational and captivating foray into tenth-century Britain in the time of the West Saxon ruler, and Wyn's uncle, King Edward. When AElfwyn's mother dies, the Mercian territory under her rule by King Edward refuses to relinquish all loyalty unto the King, and Wyn is thrown into politics though having always been more comfortable with books and poetry. When Wyn is faced with her uncle's ultimatum of either marrying one of his allies or becoming a nun, she takes the first risk of her sheltered life, fleeing under the guise of a boy. With her new identity as a traveling storyteller, she finds inner-courage using the Old English poetry she has loved all her life; Far Traveler includes literary references to such Old English works as Beowulf as sources for Wyn's self-discovery. King Wilfrid wants Wyn's help in a plot against her uncle; her budding courage must sustain her in a decision between what her heart wants and what her royal upbringing demands. 2005, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 228 pp., Ages young adult.
—Katherine Harder
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-An exciting novel set in 10th-century England. In this sequel to The Edge on the Sword (Putnam, 2001), which ended as King Alfred's daughter, thelfl--d, was about to marry Ethelred of Mercia, Tingle moves a few years forward to tell of thelfl--d's 16-year-old daughter, lfwyn. A scholarly girl with no interest in the riding, swordplay, or politics that absorb her widowed mother, Wyn is surprised to learn that her uncle, the West Saxon King Edward, has arranged her marriage to a much older earl in order to solidify a political alliance. Then her mother's unexpected death throws Mercia's future into a state of uncertainty. With King Wilfrid of Northumbria eager for an alliance with Mercia, Wyn's uncle insists that her marriage take place immediately or that she enter a convent. Knowing that either choice will mean the downfall of her country, Wyn decides instead to flee. Disguised as a boy, she passes herself off as a scop (itinerant bard) and adopts the name Widsith ("Far Traveler"). By chance, she joins King Wilfrid and his men and soon finds herself falling in love with him. When she unwittingly becomes embroiled in Wil's attempts to regain power from her uncle, she must decide where her loyalties lie. This compelling novel is filled with well-researched details, an action-packed plot, and well-drawn and sympathetic characters. Tingle is a worthy successor to Rosemary Sutcliff, sharing her ability to make British history come to life for modern readers.-Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A topnotch reclamation of one of history's almost-forgotten also-rans. In tenth-century Britain, AElfwyn is the bookish, retiring daughter of the Amazonian AEthelflaed, Lady of the Mercians. Her mother's sudden death leaves AElfwyn unable to assist her northern allies against Danish invaders, or even to resist her Uncle Edward's determination to absorb independent Mercia into his kingdom of Wessex. Forced to choose between the convent and marriage, AElfwyn escapes disguised as a wandering scop (bard); but her wit and courage will be challenged by a dreadful test of loyalty, with two kingdoms at stake. Tingle wears her erudition lightly, yet every detail down to the spices in the food and the fastenings on the cloaks rings absolutely authentic. More important, her characters think and act like real Anglo-Saxons, rather than moderns in fancy dress; every word breathes the flavor, ethos and especially the glorious poetry of the period. AElfwyn is particularly appealing; while no simpering miss, she is refreshingly devoid of that feisty "spunk" that too often substitutes for inner strength in female protagonists. As honest about her strengths as her weaknesses, AElfwyn triumphs through intelligence, honor and above all, immense integrity. A gem. (Historical fiction. 12+)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
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Penguin Group
File size:
320 KB
Age Range:
12 Years

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Far Traveler 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favoret authers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was great but not as good as the first book, The Edge on the Sword. This time the story is about Aethelflaed's bookish daughter, Aelfwyn, who disguises herself as a traveling bard, or scop. For those who expect some action, there isn't any, mainly because the plot revolves around Aelfwyn learning how to perform and traveling with others.