Shield of Stars (Shield, Sword, and Crown Series #1)

Shield of Stars (Shield, Sword, and Crown Series #1)

4.2 8
by Hilari Bell

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Weasel fumbled the cloth aside. It was a shield, steel plate over dark wood, with rotting leather straps. It looked old, and battered, and real.

A former pickpocket, Weasel is the type of boy most people would avoid. Certainly, no one would ever trust him — except for one man. Justice Holis took Weasel off the streets, gave him a home, a job as his

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Weasel fumbled the cloth aside. It was a shield, steel plate over dark wood, with rotting leather straps. It looked old, and battered, and real.

A former pickpocket, Weasel is the type of boy most people would avoid. Certainly, no one would ever trust him — except for one man. Justice Holis took Weasel off the streets, gave him a home, a job as his clerk, and a key to his house. Weasel's new life may be a bit boring, but for the first time someone actually cares about him.

Now Justice Holis is the one in trouble. Arrested for treason, he will surely hang unless someone saves him — and that someone can only be Weasel. But what can one boy do? Not much without help.

So with a mysterious girl named Arisa by his side, Weasel goes in search of the Falcon, the most dangerous bandit in Deorthas, but also the one person who would be able — and possibly willing — to stage a prison break.

But Weasel's fate changes when he stumbles upon a shield. Could this be the one said to have been lost for centuries, the one that bestows power on whoever holds it? If so, Weasel, once a lowly pickpocket, could be the most powerful person in the land.

With extraordinary craftsmanship, Hilari Bell weaves a fantasy adventure story that will have readers captivated from the first word to the last.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The first book in the Shield, Sword, and Crown trilogy by Bell (The Goblin Wood) transports readers to Deorthas, a medieval kingdom tenuously divided between town dwellers and country folk, and by those who follow "the One God" versus the Hidden, who clandestinely worship a pantheon of ancient deities. Weasel, a 14-year-old former pickpocket, is now employed as a clerk to Justice Holis, a respected judge. However, Holis is secretly mounting a conspiracy to overthrow Regent Pettibone, the ambitious, murderous advisor to the 15-year-old prince and ruler of Deorthas. When the regent's guards arrest Holis under suspicion of treason, Weasel slips away and, disguised, sneaks into the palace to petition the prince on behalf of his master. While he does gain an audience with the prince, Weasel is captured and imprisoned with a teenage girl, Arisa. The two manage to escape, and, with the guards in hot pursuit, high adventure follows as they devise an elaborate plan to rescue Weasel's master. Bell's lengthy set-up to explain this world's political intrigue, superstitions (e.g., that "the true king's powercomes from the sword and shield," which were stolen), portents and legalities can be difficult to keep straight. With the exception of a climactic revelation and an intense showdown, readers may not feel that there's enough of a payoff for following Weasel's circuitous journey. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Gwen Vanderhage
Weasel is a former pickpocket who has been trying to turn himself around as a clerk for Justice Holis. Unfortunately, the justice's revolutionary ideas against Regent Pettibone get both of them thrown in jail. When they are placed in separate parts of the castle, Weasel lucks out and is locked away with a very resourceful young lady named Arisa who helps him escape from the tower. Weasel knows that he is the judge's only hope to avoid hanging and so he sets out to find other revolutionaries in the countryside who can help save him. Thus begins an exciting adventure for Weasel and Arisa through the England-like countryside, bumping into dangerous folk like members of the Hidden religion, road bandits, and the regent's soldiers. Wrapping up the intrigue is an encounter with the young Prince Edoran and a mysterious, lost shield that has the power to save the kingdom. Weasel is a thoughtful character who carefully weighs the politically fraught choices before him. Arisa is a strong and spunky female character full of surprises. The adventure in this novel picks up after a ponderous opening chapter that sets up all of the political intrigue in the book but makes for difficult reading. Readers will be rewarded for getting through the opening, but some may not feel it is worth the effort. This is the first title in a prospective trilogy.
School Library Journal

Gr 6-10 - In this exciting adventure, Weasel, a former pickpocket, has been given a home and a position as a clerk by Justice Holis. When Holis is arrested for plotting against the regent for Prince Edoran, the 14-year-old sets out to save him, becoming involved in politics at the highest levels. He sneaks into the palace and appeals to Edoran himself, who demands a public trial and gives Weasel a deadline for producing evidence to save Holis. Weasel thinks the outlaw called the Falcon, known for being a freedom fighter, can help him, and he and Arisa, a girl whom he has helped escape from prison, travel in search of the Falcon. Weasel's schemes to rescue Holis lead him to pretend that he has found a legendary shield that gives legitimacy to kings but has been lost for centuries. When Weasel's deception may be reality, he has to decide what to do with the shield, whom to trust, and what he can do to right past wrongs. The boy's development from a character who says he cares "about me first, me second, and nobody else" to one who is willing to risk everything for his friends and the fate of his kingdom is believable and authentic. Bell's trademark shades of gray help shift readers' perceptions of the characters and their motivations, adding an unusual layer of depth that moves this story beyond simple adventure. Weasel's choices are complex and believable, and readers will be left waiting for the second volume in this proposed trilogy.-Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

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Product Details

Publication date:
Shield, Sword, and Crown Series, #1
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
7.62(w) x 5.08(h) x 0.79(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Hilari Bell is a librarian in Denver, Colorado, where she lives with her family. Her favorite books are fantasy, science fiction, and mystery — all the ingredients for a great novel! Hilari is also the author of the Farsala Trilogy — Fall of a Kingdom, Rise of a Hero, and Forging the Sword — as well as Songs of Power, A Matter of Profit, and The Goblin Wood.

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