Kingdom of the Golden Dragon (Alexander Cold Series #2)

Kingdom of the Golden Dragon (Alexander Cold Series #2)

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by Isabel Allende, Blair Brown
     
 

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Reunited once more, young Alexander Cold and his best friend, Nadia, embark upon a new adventure, following Alex's frighteningly fearless journalist grandmother Kate to a forbidden kingdom hidden away in the frosty peaks of the Himalayas. They seek the fabled Golden Dragon—a sacred statue and priceless oracle coveted by a greedy and powerful outsider. To

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Overview

Reunited once more, young Alexander Cold and his best friend, Nadia, embark upon a new adventure, following Alex's frighteningly fearless journalist grandmother Kate to a forbidden kingdom hidden away in the frosty peaks of the Himalayas. They seek the fabled Golden Dragon—a sacred statue and priceless oracle coveted by a greedy and powerful outsider. To prevent the desecration of the holy relic, they will need the help of a sage Buddhist monk, his young royal disciple, and a fierce tribe of Yeti warriors. But even the mystical power of their totemic animal spirits may not be enough to save the teenagers and this remote world from the destructive encroachment of “civilization.”

Kingdom of the Golden Dragon is the second book in a remarkable trilogy by internationally acclaimed author Isabel Allende.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fans of Allende's action fantasy City of the Beasts will be eager to sink their teeth into this equally tantalizing sequel. If the first book focused on environmental themes, this one takes on a strong spiritual flavor. Here Alexander (who has just turned 16) and his journalist grandmother, Kate, are off to the Himalayas accompanied by Brazilian native Nadia Santos (Eagle), whom they met during their excursion to the Amazon in the previous novel. Their mission is to find out about the Forbidden Kingdom, a remote mountain country that holds the invaluable Golden Dragon, a jewel-encrusted statue with magical powers. Alex and his companions are welcomed into the Kingdom of the Golden Dragon, a place where greed, hostility and crime do not exist. While they are becoming acquainted with the benevolent king, a master thief and crew of evil "Blue Warriors" carry out a scheme to steal the precious statue and kidnap the king along with some young women of the village. Before long, Alexander finds himself once again tangled up in a dangerous quest as he sets off to retrieve the Golden Dragon and save the lives of the hostages. As the author promotes ideals of compassion, forgiveness and asceticism, she expertly blends all the ingredients of a great epic adventure. Her 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. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Buddhist monk Tensing and his disciple, Prince Dil Bahadur, are journeying through the Himalayan peaks in search of healing plants when they come face to face with a tribe of once-fierce Yetis. These legendary half-human, half-ape monsters inhabit a lush valley heated by thermal pools and hot springs and are unaware that it's the toxic minerals in the water that has weakened them and slowed their rate of reproduction. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Alexander Cold; his intrepid writer/explorer grandmother, Kate; and his soul mate, Nadia Santos, daughter of the guide who led Kate and Alex on their previous expedition into the South American rain forest, described in City of the Beasts (HarperCollins, 2002), are off on a new International Geographic expedition. They are headed for the Kingdom of the Golden Dragon, a small, isolated sovereignty in the Himalayas. Criminals are on the same flight; they intend to steal the Golden Dragon, the fabulous jewel-encrusted statue that is both a symbol and a guide for the country, and to abduct its king to interpret the statue's oracular predictions. All of these characters are about to come together in another breathtaking Indiana Jones-style adventure. When Nadia is one of a group of young girls kidnapped by mercenaries, Tensing, Dil Bahadur, and even the Yetis become involved in the rescue. Allende combines empathetic young characters; exciting adventures; and an intelligent, sympathetic look at cultures, customs, and creatures of a remote and fairly unknown area. This is a must-read for fans of the first book, but it stands completely on its own. The biggest question readers are left with at the end is simply, where will these three go next?-Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The adolescent heroes of City of the Beasts are off for another journey with primitive peoples and spectacular creatures in this clunky sequel. Alexander and his Brazilian friend, Nadia, join Alexander's grandmother Kate on an International Geographic journalistic expedition to the Himalayas. On their visit to the Forbidden Kingdom, they hope to see the mysterious Golden Dragon, an ancient artifact with prophetic powers. Unbeknownst to the adventurers, wicked agents of the second richest man in the world are also on their way to the Forbidden Kingdom, hoping to steal the Golden Dragon and its secret. With the telepathically communicated help of Prince Dil Bahadur, the ascetic teen heir to the throne, Nadia and Alexander must save the day. Bestial Yetis and Buddhist monks work alongside the animal totems Nadia and Alexander discovered in their prior enterprise. The legally enforced primitivism of the People of the Dragon is ultimately and incongruously preserved by Alexander's knowledge of 21st-century technology. Awkward and overly expository prose makes this otherwise promising offering waver between magical adventure and social-studies lesson. (Fiction. 13-15)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060597597
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/27/2004
Series:
Alexander Cold Series, #2
Edition description:
Unbridged, 7 cassettes, 10 hours
Pages:
10
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.30(h) x 2.60(d)
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

Read an Excerpt

Kingdom of the Golden Dragon


By Isabel Allende

Katherine Tegen

ISBN: 0-06-058942-6


Chapter One

The Land of Snow and Ice

The Buddhist monk named Tensing and his disciple, Prince Dil Bahadur, had been climbing in the high peaks north of the Himalayas for many days, a region of eternal ice where no one but a few lamas had ever ventured. Neither of the two was counting the hours, because time did not interest them. The calendar is a human invention; time does not exist on the spiritual level, the master had taught his student.

For them it was the crossing that was important; the prince was making it for the first time. The monk remembered having done it in a previous life, but those memories were rather blurred. They were following the markings on an ancient parchment, orienting themselves by the stars in a terrain where even in summer conditions were very harsh. The temperature of several degrees below zero was endurable only two months during the year, when ominous storms were not lashing the mountains.

Even beneath the sunny, cloudless skies, the cold was intense. They were wearing rough wool tunics, and cloaks made from yak hide. Leather boots from the same animal covered their feet, with the long hair turned in and the outside weather-proofed with yak butter. The travelers placed each foot with care; one misstep on the ice and they could tumble hundreds of yards into the deep chasms that sliced through the mountains as if cleft by God's hatchet.

Luminous snowy peaks stood out against a sky of deep blue. The travelers moved at a slow pace, because at those heights there was very little oxygen. They rested frequently, so their lungs would become accustomed to the altitude. Their chests ached, as did their ears and their heads. They were suffering from nausea and fatigue, but neither of the two mentioned such bodily weakness, saving their breath in order to get the maximum benefit from each mouthful of air.

They were searching for rare plants found only in the Valley of the Yetis, plants essential in preparing medicinal lotions and balms. If they survived the dangers of this journey, they would consider themselves initiated, for their characters would be tempered like steel. Their will and courage would be put to the test many times during that climb. The disciple would need both will and courage to carry out the task that awaited him in life, which was why he had been given the name Dil Bahadur, "brave heart" in the language of the Forbidden Kingdom. The pilgrimage to the Valley of the Yetis was one of the last steps in the harsh training the prince had been undergoing for twelve years.

The youth did not know the true reason for their trek, which was much more important than the gathering of curative plants or his initiation as a lama, or superior being. His master could not reveal it to him, just as he could not speak to him of many other things. Tensing's role was to guide the prince during each stage of his long apprenticeship; he was charged with strengthening the young man's body and his character and cultivating his mind, testing the quality of his spirit again and again. Dil Bahadur would discover the reason for the journey to the Valley of the Yetis later, when he found himself before the fabled statue of the Golden Dragon.

On their backs, Tensing and Dil Bahadur were carrying bundles that contained the blankets, grain, and yak butter they would need to survive. Rolled around their waists were coils of yak-hair rope, which they used in climbing, and in one hand each grasped a long, strong walking staff, which they used for support, for defending themselves in case of attack, and for setting up their improvised tent at night. In places where experience had taught them that fresh snow often covered deep openings, they also used their staffs to test the depth and firmness of a surface before stepping onto it. Frequently they were forced to make long detours around fissures that couldn't be jumped over. Sometimes, to avoid going out of their way for hours, they laid one of the staffs across the crevasse, and only when they were sure it was firmly seated on either side did they dare step onto it and then leap to the other side-never more than one step, because the risk of plummeting into empty space was too big. They made such leaps without thinking, with their minds clear, trusting in physical skill, instinct, and luck, because if they stopped to weigh each move it would be impossible to make it. When the opening was wider than the length of the staff, they looped a rope around an overhanging rock, then one of them tied the other end of the rope around his waist, took a running start, and leaped, swinging back and forth like a pendulum until he reached the other side. The young disciple, who had great stamina and courage in the face of danger, always hesitated at the moment they were forced to use those methods.

The pair had come to such a chasm, and the lama was looking for the best place to cross. The youth briefly closed his eyes, sending a prayer skyward.

"Do you fear dying, Dil Bahadur?" Tensing inquired, smiling.

"No, honorable master. The moment of my death was written in my fate before my birth. I shall die when my work is finished in this reincarnation and my spirit is ready to fly, but I do fear breaking all my bones down there, and living," the youth replied, pointing to the impressive precipice yawning at their feet.

"That could, perhaps, present a problem," the lama conceded with good humor. "If you open your mind and heart, it will seem easier," he added.

"What would you do if I were to fall?"

"Should that occur, I would possibly have to think about it. For the moment, my thoughts are turned to other things."

"May I know what, master?"

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Kingdom of the Golden Dragon by Isabel Allende Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Isabel Allende is the author of twelve works of fiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Maya’s Notebook, Island Beneath the Sea, Inés of My Soul, Daughter of Fortune, and a novel that has become a world-renowned classic, The House of the Spirits. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, she lives in California.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
San Rafael, California
Date of Birth:
August 2, 1942
Place of Birth:
Lima, Peru
Website:
http://www.isabelallende.com

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