Forest of the Pygmies (Alexander Cold Series #3)

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Overview

The final installment of Isabel Allende's celebrated trilogy continues the journeys of Jaguar and Eagle –– and the transformation of an extraordinary friendship.

Alexander Cold knows all too well his grandmother Kate is never far from an adventure. When International Geographic commissions her to write an article about the first elephant–led safaris in Africa, they head –– with Nadia Santos and the magazine's photography crew –– to the blazing red plains of Kenya. Days into the ...

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Overview

The final installment of Isabel Allende's celebrated trilogy continues the journeys of Jaguar and Eagle –– and the transformation of an extraordinary friendship.

Alexander Cold knows all too well his grandmother Kate is never far from an adventure. When International Geographic commissions her to write an article about the first elephant–led safaris in Africa, they head –– with Nadia Santos and the magazine's photography crew –– to the blazing red plains of Kenya. Days into the tour, a Catholic missionary approaches their camp in search of his companions who have mysteriously disappeared. Kate, Alexander, Nadia, and their team, agreeing to aid the rescue, enlist the help of a local pilot to lead them to the swampy forest of Ngoubé. There they discover a clan of Pygmies who unveil a harsh and surprising world of corruption, slavery, and poaching.

Alexander and Nadia, entrusting the magical strengths of Jaguar and Eagle, their totemic animal spirits, launch a spectacular and precarious struggle to restore freedom and return leadership to its rightful hands.

Performed by Blair Brown

Eighteen-year-old Alexander Cold and his grandmother travel to Africa on an elephant-led safari, but discover a corrupt world of poaching and slavery.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Forest of the Pygmies by Isabel Allende, trans. from the Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden, wraps up the trilogy begun with City of the Beasts and Kingdom of the Golden Dragon, of which PW wrote, "Allende's complex heroes, suspenseful tests of courage and the mystic aura that surrounds the story add depth and excitement to a classic battle of good versus evil." Now Alexander, his grandmother, Kate, and Nadia are bound for Kenya, where Kate is on assignment to write about the first elephant-led safaris. But they also discover a ring of slavery and poaching. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2005: Allende completes her trilogy that began with City of the Beasts and continued with Kingdom of the Golden Dragon with this volume, set in Africa. Kate has been sent to Kenya to write an article about the first elephant-led safaris, and her grandson Alex and his friend Nadia are along for the thrilling ride. A sorceress in Nairobi warns them of danger ahead, and they encounter plenty of it when the safari ends and they head out to look for missing missionaries in a remote swampy jungle. After a plane crash and close encounters with wild animals, they enter the territory of a tyrant who has enslaved the local pygmies, and Alex and Nadia visit the world of the spirits to help free them. Allende, author of many acclaimed books for adults as well as this series for YAs, evokes the climate and creatures of Africa beautifully, and this tense tale has memorable characters and lots of action and excitement along with elements of magical realism. Best appreciated by those who have read the previous volumes, though. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, HarperCollins, 296p., $7.99.. Ages 12 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Isabel Allende's trilogy (Kingdom of the Golden Dragon and City of the Beast, both HarperCollins) comes to a satisfactory conclusion in this volume (Rayo, 2005). The adventures of Nadia and Alex take them to Africa where they survive a plane crash and bring about the downfall of an evil dictator, thus freeing his enslaved pygmies. Although the plot is simple to follow without having read the first two titles in the series, the fantastical elements of Alex's and Nadia's mystical abilities such as talking with the animals and becoming invisible are simply part of the tale and not explained. Blair Brown reads the novel, most of which is in narrative form, at a quick pace reflecting the emotions of the story, varying her tone and sound level when appropriate. Her diction is precise, and she speaks the African names with ease. She uses several different accents to differentiate between the characters when necessary. A good choice where the first two novels are popular.-Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Allende takes her readers into the wilds of Africa in the final installment of her fantasy adventure trilogy that follows City of the Beasts (2002) and Kingdom of the Golden Dragon (2004). This story begins when 18-year-old Alexander Cold and his friend, Brazilian native Nadia Santos, join Alex's salty grandmother Kate, a journalist for International Geographic, and two photographers on a safari in Kenya. When a Catholic missionary persuades them and a local pilot to help find his colleagues who are lost in the remote jungles of Ngoube, the heroic group endangers their lives in an attempt to save them. While packed with hair-raising near misses and vivid glimpses of Africa's landscapes, tribal customs and wildlife, this is stiffly written, didactic and relentlessly descriptive. The characters are distinct, but undeveloped, and Allende awkwardly explains rather than reveals their interrelationships. Alexander and Nadia have totemic animal spirits, but since the origin and nature of this phenomenon are never explained, it's all rather baffling even within the context of Allende's magic realism. A rich but ultimately disappointing travelogue. (Fiction. 12-15)
San Francisco Chronicle
“A dizzyingly fast and compelling read.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060761981
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/1/2006
  • Series: Alexander Cold Series , #3
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 198,547
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1010L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Isabel Allende is the bestselling author of twelve works of fiction, four memoirs, and three young-adult novels, which have been translated into more than thirty-five languages with sales in excess of fifty-seven million copies. She is the author most recently of the bestsellers Maya's Notebook, Island Beneath the Sea, Inés of My Soul, Portrait in Sepia, and Daughter of Fortune. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She received the Hans Christian Andersen Literary Award in 2012. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, she lives in California.

Biography

In Isabel Allende's books, human beings do not exist merely in the three-dimensional sense. They can exert themselves as memory, as destiny, as spirits without form, as fairy tales. Just as the more mystical elements of Allende's past have shaped her work, so has the hard-bitten reality. Working as a journalist in Chile, Allende was forced to flee the country with her family after her uncle, President Salvador Allende, was killed in a coup in 1973.

Out of letters to family back in Chile came the manuscript that was to become Allende's first novel. Her arrival on the publishing scene in 1985 with The House of the Spirits was instantly recognized as a literary event. The New York Times called it "a unique achievement, both personal witness and possible allegory of the past, present and future of Latin America."

To read a book by Allende is to believe in (or be persuaded of) the power of transcendence, spiritual and otherwise. Her characters are often what she calls "marginal," those who strive to live on the fringes of society. It may be someone like Of Love and Shadows 's Hipolito Ranquileo, who makes his living as a circus clown; or Eva Luna, a poor orphan who is the center of two Allende books (Eva Luna and The Stories of Eva Luna).

Allende's characters have in common an inner fortitude that proves stronger than their adversity, and a sense of lineage that propels them both forward and backward. When you meet a central character in an Allende novel, be prepared to meet a few generations of his or her family. This multigenerational thread drives The House of the Spirits, the tale of the South American Trueba family. Not only did the novel draw Allende critical accolades (with such breathless raves as "spectacular," "astonishing" and "mesmerizing" from major reviewers), it landed her firmly in the magic realist tradition of predecessor (and acknowledged influence) Gabriel García Márquez. Some of its characters also reappeared in the historical novels Portrait in Sepia and Daughter of Fortune.

"It's strange that my work has been classified as magic realism," Allende has said, "because I see my novels as just being realistic literature." Indeed, much of what might be considered "magic" to others is real to Allende, who based the character Clara del Valle in The House of the Spirits on her own reputedly clairvoyant grandmother. And she has drawn as well upon the political violence that visited her life: Of Love and Shadows (1987) centers on a political crime in Chile, and other Allende books allude to the ideological divisions that affected the author so critically.

But all of her other work was "rehearsal," says Allende, for what she considers her most difficult and personal book. Paula is written for Allende's daughter, who died in 1992 after several months in a coma. Like Allende's fiction, it tells Paula's story through that of Allende's own and of her relatives. Allende again departed from fiction in Aphrodite, a book that pays homage to the romantic powers of food (complete with recipes for two such as "Reconciliation Soup"). The book's lighthearted subject matter had to have been a necessity for Allende, who could not write for nearly three years after the draining experience of writing Paula.

Whichever side of reality she is on, Allende's voice is unfailingly romantic and life-affirming, creating mystery even as she uncloaks it. Like a character in Of Love and Shadows, Allende tells "stories of her own invention whose aim [is] to ease suffering and make time pass more quickly," and she succeeds.

Good To Know

Allende has said that the character of Gregory Reeves in The Infinite Plan is based on her husband, Willie Gordon.

Allende begins all of her books on January 8, which she considers lucky because it was the day she began writing a letter to her dying grandfather that later became The House of the Spirits.

She began her career as a journalist, editing the magazine Paula and later contributing to the Venezuelan paper El Nacional.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 6, 2014

    Great series

    I read Allende's juvenile series first in Spanish and enjoyed it very much. I sent my 16 year old grandson the first book in English The City of the Beasts and when he said he liked it I got the other two The Forest of the Pygmies and the Kingdom of the Golden Dragon. These are very simple books to read for a teenager who reads well and a lot; but the ideas in the books are entertaining and exciting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    Forest of the pygmies

    Forest of the pygmies has a very interesting cover with a touch of African culture.the story opens up by introduing the characters,with main character nadia Santos and Alexander cold. you enter the book when the characters are on a safari.I thought this book was alright. I do like all of the Isabel Allende's books (that I have read).This book is hard to follow for me it go's from one thing to another slow but the transition to one one chapter to another you have to find out whare you were.all in all I would recommend this book to sires lover.

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  • Posted October 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Read!

    This book, and series as a whole, is amazingly written, and has an enthralling plot. The characters are deep,independent,and humorous, with traits that can be compared with people i know in real life. Overall, this is a great book for sharing with your friends and rereading on cold nights.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2008

    Good, quick, and easy read.

    The book Forest of the Pygmies, the third and final book in a series by Isabel Allende, is about a pair of people, Alexander and Nadia, both of whom possess the spirits of the Jaguar and Eagle respectively, and their journey to Africa with Alexander¿s grandmother, a journalist for International Geographic. She goes to Africa to write an article about the wildlife, going on a safari early in the beginning. This safari serves to introduce the characters and develop them in the beginning, but the safari is interrupted on its last day as a Spanish missionary bursts from the forest, begging for the group to help him find his other missionary friends, lost in an African village. The group agrees to help, and so they venture into the heart of an African forest, far from the comforts and luxuries of civilization, where they enter an entirely different world. In here they discover a far deeper conflict than the missing men, finding an age-old conflict between the African villagers and their slaves, the pygmies. The book was short, yet well written, and I enjoyed reading it. Allende uses a writing style called magical realism, which means that she uses magical creations like spirits and voodoo in an otherwise realistic world. This writing style fits in well with the setting and conflicts of the novel. However, one thing that I did not like was that several times the magical components of the story seemed a little too convenient, taking away from the realism portion to advance the plot and making the book seem more unlikely. Fortunately, these instances are few, and the other portions of the book are more believable, and this realism is one thing that draws me to the book. For example, she describes in a very detailed way the dangers of Africa, be they the natural diseases, animals, or food shortages. I would recommend this book to all readers. There is nothing too graphic about it, though if the reader is afraid of bugs, be warned there are a lot of bugs in Africa. The book can be picked up even without prior knowledge of the first two books as well, as the first two have little impact on the third¿s story. Allende¿s Forest of the Pygmies uses magical realism in order to display Africa realistically and to influence the story beyond the real world. It is a good, quick read, and if a reader finds themselves in need of a book, read this one. I promise he¿ll enjoy it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    Awesome books

    Kingdom of the Golden Dragon seriously made me want to become a Buddhist monk!!!!! a total must read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2006

    A bit disappointing

    After waiting in anticipation to read the final installment of Isabel Allende's Alexander Cold series, I was quite disappointed. Other than it being predictable, the ending was not at all what I expected it to be, it just ended, the final sentence of the trilogy upset me most of all. Of the three books, I highly recommend 'City of the Beasts.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2005

    Outstanding Author!

    I loved Allende's first two books in this series. I wanted to buy it the instant I saw it, but I was broke. Please, just read them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2005

    Isabel Allende is an AMAZING author!

    Isabel Allende's first two novels in the Alexander Cold series are AMAZING reads, and they're translations! I was very intrigued by her first two novels and had a LOT of fun reading them (City of the Beasts and Kingdom of the Golden Dragon are their names). I can't wait to read this new book! It's released tomorrow and I can't WAIT to read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2005

    these are not just childrens books

    In my experience of reading isabel allendes city of the beasts and kingdom of the golden dragon, they are like disney movies, in the sense that theya re for children but much of the plot and darker or complex parts of the story are for adults and teens to enjoy. I hope that the third installment is justa thrilling as the first.

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