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City of Death
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City of Death

5.0 1
by Laurence Yep

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Two-time Newbery Honor Award–winning author Laurence Yep brings his epic City Trilogy to an action-packed and heart-pounding conclusion

Scirye and her loyal companions chase the villainous Mr. Roland for a final showdown at Riye Srukalleyis, the City of Death, located in the heart of the Kushan Empire, along the Silk Road. There, they reunite with old


Two-time Newbery Honor Award–winning author Laurence Yep brings his epic City Trilogy to an action-packed and heart-pounding conclusion

Scirye and her loyal companions chase the villainous Mr. Roland for a final showdown at Riye Srukalleyis, the City of Death, located in the heart of the Kushan Empire, along the Silk Road. There, they reunite with old friends, meet new allies, and confront an even more dangerous foe....

This is the thrilling conclusion to the trilogy that began with City of Fire and City of Ice by esteemed storyteller Laurence Yep, who has been one of the preeminent Asian-American authors for children for the past forty years.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A magnificent adventure, mixing both history and fantasy.... This reader is looking forward to the final book in this most enjoyable trilogy.” —VOYA on City of Ice

“Yep's second entry in the City Trilogy sings and crackles with as much detail and action as the first.... New readers have enough clues to feel instantly at home. Makes a great read aloud too.” —Booklist on City of Ice

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
Never read one of Laurence Yep's series book out of sequence. His writing in the genre of fantasy/adventure/mythology is complicated, and you will be lost among a cast of hundreds and a maze of locations that require mapping. Yep earnestly tries to catch the reader up by referring to prior events and locations, but it is a hopeless mission to start with this third book of the "City Trilogy," at the end of this complex story. However, Yep's books are never without merit because he is, quite literally, an artist with words. He creates "Theatre of the Mind," as he describes dragons and griffins riding into battle against evil humans and warring dragons. The central character is Scirye, a girl designated by a goddess to fight the evil Roland. Her companions are Koko, a badger with the ability to divide himself; Bayang, a dragon who can grow and shrink; Kles, a pocket-sized griffin; and Leech, the ghost of a dead boy. The group is surely as bound together in their adventure as Dorothy and her friends were on the road to Oz. As I read the book, I found myself picturing the action—and there is a great deal of action—as an anime. The book seems to have been written with that in mind. Looking back at the earlier books, I realized that the setting is actually a parallel world and Scirye's wars and adventures occur at the same time as World War II. Yep introduces element of the fascinating history of the Silk Road trade by incorporating characters from mythology and storytelling that may have traversed the widely used Asian and middle Asian trade route. Backmatter includes discussion questions and activities suitable for Common Core assignments. This is another excellent addition to the Yep catalog of storytelling. Book three of the "City Trilogy." Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
Kirkus Reviews
The world turns out to need saving from more than just one menace in this conclusion to Yep's teeming and polymythical fantasy/alternate history/quest/rescue/coming-of-age epic. The long chase has taken young noblewoman Scirye and her motley band of human, dragon and magical animal allies around the Pacific Rim and beyond. It comes to an end (after diverse adventures in Central Asia) in the ruins of remote Riye Srukalleyis (the titular City of Death) with battles against both the evil sorcerer Roland and, unexpectedly, a mountain-sized mud monster. As in previous episodes, quiet moments are rare, fortunes reverse in an instant and new adversaries appear in quick succession. There always seems to be time, though, even in desperate moments, for wisecracks, arguments, explanations, declarations of nefarious intent or ruminative digressions. The result is a relaxed tale with surprisingly low levels of pain or violence, considering all the gunfire and swordplay, and a tidy ending that comes amid a wash of personal conflict resolution. Yep provides only a partial key to the plethora of gods, ifrits, griffins, talking animals, legendary or mythical locations, and villainous types here, but he closes with a list of his multimedia sources. A tongue-in-cheek ramble with frequent opportunities for derring-do and a multitude of supernatural entities more colorful than dangerous. (afterword) (Fantasy. 10-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—If ever a book cried out to be made into a theme-park attraction, it's this one. It moves at a lightening pace and is filled with thrills, chills, a deity or two, seemingly indestructible enemies, magic, mayhem, and surprises around every turn. The heroes have come to Asia to stop the archvillain Roland and the evil dragon Badik from collecting the last of the magical artifacts needed to destroy the world. Scirye is coming back to a home she barely remembers. The good thing is that she is reunited with her parents. The bad thing is that the entire group, including the newest members of the gang-brave but inept teenage magician Maka and her lynx, Tute-are thrust into the middle of nasty royal intrigue. The tender yet sometimes tense familial relationship between Bayang and Leech (and Lee No Cha) continues to evolve; Koko is as amusingly self-involved and smart-alecky as ever; and Scirye proves herself to be intelligent, resourceful, often foolhardy, but indeed heroic, much to her own, though no one else's, surprise. There is a fair amount of violence, but an ultimately happy ending. Fans of the first two books will not be disappointed, and newcomers will have only a little trouble catching up (and will want to read the first two books anyway).—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
City Trilogy Series , #3
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)
900L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt



December 1941

Somewhere over the Asian steppes near the northern Kushan border


“How fast do storms come in here?” Bayang the dragon asked, staring at the dark gray clouds boiling rapidly toward them from the east. The misty wave rolling toward them was at least a mile across and two miles long, and their shadows plunged the mountains beneath them into an ominous twilight.

Scirye and her companions were sitting on a great triangular wing that had been woven magically from straw, and Scirye tugged at a strand of her red hair as she wondered how long the flimsy mat would last in a tempest like that.

Suddenly the wing lurched upward. “Ho, fear not, lumplings,” boomed the great wind, Naue. For a wind, he was fairly pleasant company, except for a bad habit of boasting.

In Hawaii, they had saved the goddess Pele and, in return, she had helped them on their quest by summoning the Cloud Folk to weave the straw wing they rode on now. She had also charged the powerful zephyr, Naue, to carry them on their quest, and he had faithfully carried them to the Arctic and now into Asia. “No little drizzle can stop Naue the magnificent. He will just carry you above it.”

As Naue picked up speed, the sound of their passage rose to a high keening, and perhaps they would have been blown off the mat except for the magical frame of woven straw. The frame was little more than woven poles set upon four upright ones so that it resembled the sketch of a house, but its enchantment protected them as efficiently as brick walls would have.

Behind Scirye, the snow-covered steppes stretched like a huge sheet of cotton batting. It was so vast, so empty, so harsh. It had shaped her ancestors, the Kushans, into a warrior race as hard and sharp as steel. She had never appreciated just how tough they must have been—she knew that she herself could never have survived there.

Somebody as weak as she had no place chasing Badik the dragon and his employer, Roland, who was one of the richest men in the world. Worse, when they had stolen an ancient Kushan treasure and killed her sister, Scirye had been so blinded by rage that she had rashly asked the powerful goddess Nanaia to help her get her revenge. Now there was no question of dropping the pursuit because Nanaia always expected people to keep their word—or else.

Scirye’s palm itched at the mere thought of the goddess, and she glanced at the glove covering it. There was a faint glow from Nanaia’s mark, the number 3, though they could only guess what it meant. Scirye might have felt more reconciled to the bargain if the goddess had made it clear what She wanted Scirye to do.

Scirye and her friends had already survived a trip through the molten insides of a volcano and the sinking of an island to the freezing Arctic wastes, but their greatest trials were just ahead.

Her green eyes gloomily watched the mountains pass underneath them. Snow covered the mountains’ shoulders and the steep black slopes looked as if some giant monster had raked its claws through the earth.

On the other hand, Scirye’s lap griffin, Kles, had grown up in mountains like these, and the excitement of his homecoming had made her parrot-sized friend chattier than usual, eyes bright, eagle-shaped head jerking from side to side, and lionlike tail twitching as if he wanted to take in everything.

Upon her shoulder now, he fluttered his wings and crowed excitedly, “The Astär Mountains, the roof of the world.” Astär meant arrow in the old tongue, and the sharp peaks did look like arrowheads. “Home! We’re home, lady. We—.” He dove suddenly, pinning a two-inch-high badger against the mat near a pouch. “Stay out of the supplies!”

The head of an indignant Koko wiggled up between two of Kles’s claws. His round head seemed to be all gray fur except for the large, shining black eyes—made to appear even larger by the rings of black fur.

His round ears wriggled indignantly on top of his head as he piped in a barely audible voice, “I just wanted a snack. Transformation is hungry work.”

Another miniature Koko kicked the griffin’s haunch. “Don’t be such a pill. When we’re this size, it won’t be more than a nibble.”

“Yeah, you’ll never notice it, you big bully.” A third Koko pounced on Kles’s tail and began trying to pull the griffin off his prisoner. More tiny Kokos joined him in yanking at Kles until the exasperated griffin let go of his captive and swept his forepaws behind him, bowling little badgers left and right.

The air hummed as Leech floated over on his flying discs, his brown hair rippling about his head. He was a human boy about Scirye’s age, and he had joined her quest when Badik had killed his friend Primo. “I thought you were trying to transform into a tiger?”

A dozen Kokos scratched their heads. “So did I,” they all chorused.

“Will you re-unite?” Kles snapped. “One of you is bad enough.”

“Keep your paws crossed that this works.” When the miniature badgers began muttering and making passes, their outlines shimmered. Immediately they began running toward one another, merging until there was a single, much larger badger again. “Whew, that’s a relief,” he said, rubbing his fur vigorously. “But I itch all over now.”

As Leech squatted to scratch his friend’s back, he asked Kles and Scirye, “How much further to the City of Death?”

“We find a peak called the Black Diamond and turn east,” the griffin explained.

Koko gave a shiver. “So why do they call it the City of Death anyway? Is it full of skeletons?”

“It was where Yi the Archer killed a terrible monster who was destroying the countryside,” Kles explained. “The grateful people built a temple in his honor, and so many pilgrims visited it that a city grew up near it. Many centuries later, the Kushans and griffins stopped an army of Huns there, but at great cost. Neither the defenders nor the invaders survived, and no one goes there now.”

“Except Roland and Badik,” Scirye said.

“Yes, except them,” Leech agreed. “But we’ll stop them.”

Roland and Badik were heading there, where they hoped to find the last part of an ancient super weapon that would be capable of destroying a sun. They already had the bow of the fabled archer Yi, as well as the special archer’s ring, for which they had killed Scirye’s sister, Nishke, and injured her mother, Lady Sudarshane. Now the thieves were hunting for the arrows.

Suddenly Kles’s fur and feathers began to fluff out and Koko began to scratch more furiously than before. Scirye’s own skin began to tingle as if a thousand ants were running up and down over her.

“I think that storm is moving even faster now,” Bayang said.

The roiling storm swallowed up the land as it chased after them like an angry gray tidal wave.


Copyright © 2013 by Laurence Yep

Meet the Author

LAURENCE YEP is the critically acclaimed author of more than sixty books for children and young adults, including two Newbery Honor Award winners: Dragonwings and Dragon's Gate. In 2005, he was awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for a substantial and lasting contribution literature for children. Yep lives with his wife, author and editor Joanne Ryder, in California.

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City of Death 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book its awesome