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The King's Fifth
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The King's Fifth

3.4 14
by Scott O'Dell
 

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In this deeply affecting novel Scott O’Dell envelops the reader in the heroic world of the conquistadors—a world that is at once somber and many-colored. Though they may have been ruthless, these steel-helmeted young men of Spain lived their lives on the very edge of eternity with style and uncommon courage.

Overview


In this deeply affecting novel Scott O’Dell envelops the reader in the heroic world of the conquistadors—a world that is at once somber and many-colored. Though they may have been ruthless, these steel-helmeted young men of Spain lived their lives on the very edge of eternity with style and uncommon courage.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Scott O'Dell (1898—1989), the much-honored author of historical fiction, received a Newbery Honor for this insightful take on Spanish conquistadors in the New Spain of the 1540s. Their no-holds-barred lust for gold is seen through the eyes of fifteen-year-old cartographer Esteban de Sandoval as he joins mutineers in search of the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola. In company with the vicious Captain Mendoza, Zia—their Indian girl translator—and the well-meaning Father Francisco, Esteban maps the journey of search and warfare from the Gulf of California through the badlands and deserts of the southwest to the Grand Canyon and beyond. He tells his story in flashbacks while imprisoned and on trial for treason to the king of Spain. O'Dell does his own mapping of Esteban's character, subtly revealing the gold madness that almost destroys this basically decent young man. It's a bravura performance on O'Dell's part, and the long out-of-print book is very welcome back.
From the Publisher

"The writing is subtly beautiful, often moving, and says more than may be caught in one reading." Horn Book

"The writing is subtly beautiful, often moving, and says more than may be caught in one reading." Horn Book Guide

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618747832
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/04/2006
Edition description:
40th Anniversary Edition
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
204,801
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
840L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Scott O’Dell (1898–1989), one of the most respected authors of historical fiction, received the Newbery Medal, three Newbery Honor Medals, and the Hans Christian Andersen Author Medal, the highest international recognition for a body of work by an author of books for young readers. Some of his many books include The Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Road to Damietta, Sing Down the Moon, and The Black Pearl.

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King's Fifth 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
JGolomb More than 1 year ago
In my continuing quest to read all that is historical fiction based during the Spanish conquest of the Americas, I finally jumped into Scott O'Dell's "The King's Fifth." I recently finished O'Dell's "Seven Serpents" trilogy which follows the young Julian Escobar as he travels from Spain to the New World in a quest to save the savage souls of the New World's natives. While his early journey established his innocence, his travels across the Yucatan, central Mexico and eventually Peru expose his personal fall from grace. O'Dell's hero in "King's Fifth" is different from Escobar, but mostly in name and location. In this short novel, we find Esteban de Sandoval imprisoned in the Spanish fortress of San Juan de Ulua on the far east coast of Mexico. Having found a significant treasure, Esteban is charged with refusing the Spanish King his fifth of the treasure - the standard percentage that all explorers are due their king. The key drama is not Esteban's innocence or guilt of the crime...he fully admits to withholding the King's fifth. The core mystery is determining where the treasure is exactly and why, as Esteban contends, it will never be found. O'Dell's narrative bounces between Esteban's flashbacks of his adventure in the new world, and his trial which spans the course of several weeks. A young mapmaker on board a ship in the Sea of Cortes, Esteban becomes associated with mutineers and finds himself in western Mexico with the explorer Coronado who's in search of the fabled Cibola. His brush with the non-fictional Coronado is quite brief, but is reminiscent of Julian Escobar's travels with both Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro. I didn't find the story as compelling nor deep as "The Serpent Trilogy" although it's well written, and the pacing and tone are extremely similar. The real story is about lost innocence and the driving forces behind Spanish exploration. Esteban simply wants to make maps...to find something new that's never been mapped, and forever associate himself with such a discovery. Paralleling Escobar's fall from grace, the lure of gold becomes too much for Esteban and, he too, succumbs to the disease del oro. While the story ends in redemption (although not complete), the conclusion is rather abrupt and unfulfilling. If you seek an introduction into the world of the Spanish Conquest of the Americas, I'd start with "The Serpent Trilogy." "The King's Fifth" is good, but not nearly as well rounded, deep and satisfying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great but a litle sad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jorgealex More than 1 year ago
This book is so realistic and full of adventure. It is very well informed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A book every teen should read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Georgia Denny More than 1 year ago
not a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Historically accurate and punctual. It is very exciting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for young teens because it describes a life of a young boy in his teens. If you want a spectacular adventure read this book by:Scott O'Dell.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Island of the blue dolphins was great and i am reading sing down the moon now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book F'en SUCKS this is for people that like soapopras
John Beljan More than 1 year ago
i believe that thiss book is terrible and thaat no ome should read it i am very upset with the author ane publisher that composed this book very unfortunate but i hate it and if u dont like bad books then i suggest not reading this book