The Cross of Lead (Crispin Series #1)

The Cross of Lead (Crispin Series #1)

by Avi


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H "Avi's plot is engineered for maximum thrills, with twists, turns, and treachery aplenty. . . . A page-turner to delight Avi's fans, it will leave readers hoping for a sequel."-Publishers Weekly (starred review) H " . . . [T]he book is a page-turner from beginning to end . . . [A] meticulously crafted story, full of adventure, mystery, and action." -School Library Journal (starred review) "Historical fiction at its finest."-VOYA

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786816583
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 06/28/2004
Series: Crispin Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 35,796
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Avi's books are loved by kids and adults everywhere. He has written more than 50 books, several of which have garnered prestigious awards, including the Newbery Medal and two Newbery Honors. His titles with Hyperion include Crispin: The Cross of Lead, Crispin at the Edge of the World, and The Book Without Words. He lives with his family in Colorado.

Date of Birth:

December 23, 1937

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964

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The Cross of Lead (Crispin Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 269 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would strongly recommend this book to anybody that likes adventure books that keep you guessing. This book is about a 13 year-old boy named Crispin whose mother died. Shortly after he is orphaned, he is proclaimed a ¿wolf¿s head,¿ meaning anyone can kill him. Crispin is accused of stealing money and the murder of a priest. In most of the story Crispin is running, scared for his safety and his life, because people want to kill him. I would recommend this book to all middle school students.
Ananagram More than 1 year ago
Crispin,by Avi, was a particularly drab book due to its lackadaisical plot line and lack of true uniqueness. In this book, it seemed like Crispin just happened to stumble into situation after situation for the sake of the plot. For example, Crispin happened to stumble into the very church in Great Wexly that contained John Aycliffe, or that Bear and Crispin wandered into the precise town that had Furnival’s men in it. Also, Crispin had no real character development until the end, his evolution mirroring that of a graph of global population growth during the 1900s-2000. The plot twist, the very pinnacle of the book’s plot, was dry and predictable, building up so much anticipation only to have the reader feeling let down. Furthermore, the book had no closure, it seemed to jump from the fight scene to a happy moment where everyone rejoiced without a care to as what happened five sentences earlier. This book was also filled with cliches, from the first page to the very last line, which felt like it was pulled from a generic book about a teen discovering himself. In conclusion, Crispin was a monotonous book that was not up to the Newberry standards it supposedly qualifies for. -Zofia, Hibler Student
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was gery dry at first but after you kept turning the pages it got better and better. It is a great book and has a great plot. Great for all middle schoolers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is boring at the begining! But once you get to the middle it is like you are stuck in the middle of CRISPIN THE CROSS OF LEAD. You can not stop reading............ I am reading this book in 6th grade language and didn't want to read it but I'm glad I did! I recommend this to 11+. It truely is an awesoms book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book in schol and I loved it! I do have to say some parts were a little dull but then it got amuzing! Crispin is a perfect book for ages 11-15
cmjlccarlos More than 1 year ago
At the beggining it seems a little boring, but towards the middle the book gets really interesting and entertaining! I was givin a list at the end of fith grade, this and the black pearl were two of the six books! Blac pearl is also an interesting book. I would like to recommend the black pearl to anyone who likes this book. It is about a boy whose mother dies, gets named a wolf's head, and finds a friend. I believe most people will like it!!! I did, and now I must write a report on it. Yay.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting so far slightly deppressing but it is the midevil times, so what do expect. I am 80 pgs in and so far it is good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books i have evet read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so boring and is hard to get whats happening in the story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CRISPIN wasnt as good as I had hoped. The cover looked good. I admit, it was a catchy cover. But sometimes, this gal(Yes, I am a girl) is very picky. Especially when it comes to run-away, adventure books. Like Percy Jackson. Yeah, thats a good example. Percy Jackson and Coraline are better books than Crispin. I read books better than this. And they are terrible books. Avi, I am dissapointed in this book. No mental pictures to match Crispins personality. I still have lots questions exploding in my brain! Like, WHY DID CRISPIN RUN AWAY THE FIRST TIME? WHY DIDNT HE LISTEN? Those are only some of the questions I have. So, readers, I suggest you DON'T read this book. Avi, I am sorry. But try harder next time. I might still read your boks. But not this ine. Sorry. Once again, Avi.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book and fell in love!These books are to die for! All I have to say,READ THE BOOK!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is very very boring and uninteresting. There is lots of death and terrible things in the beginning. I did not like it and neither did anyone else who had to read it for my school. Avi's written better books. I could not always understand what was happening partly because I was just reading through not really paying attention to what the book was saying. It also gave a person in my class serious nightmares in the beginning. It was just a terrible book that was boring and kept going.
Novel_Teen_Book_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Review by Jill Williamson

Asta¿s son has never had a name. But now that his mother has died, a priest tells him his name is Crispin. Accused of a crime he didn¿t commit, Crispin flees his village home. On his journey he meets a juggler named Bear, who teaches him the ways of entertaining, self defense, and snaring rabbits. At first Crispin is afraid of Bear, but the man takes care of him and teaches him to think for himself.

Crispin¿s enemies continue to pursue him. Crispin wonders why they are so intent on seeing him killed? He is no one. He and Bear reach the city of Great Wexly where Crispin stumbles onto a dark secret that leaves him no choice but to fight for his and Bear¿s life.

Crispin: the Cross of Lead is a story about a poor orphan in medieval England. Avi creates a world for the reader that shocks and fascinates as much as the plot. It¿s no surprise why this book earned the Newberry. I highly recommend it for everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would highly recommend this book for many reasons. It makes a great summer read for students going into 7th grade. It combines historical violence, emotion, affection, and life and death decisions. This book is full of in-depth descriptions you can always ¿see¿ the picture running through your head. In the beginning, Crispin is a peasant who is considered a nobody but, by the end of the story he finds himself face-to-face with one of the strongest men and he becomes a hero. All in all, I would highly recommended this book for middle school students.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Poor Crispin loses his mother and is accused of stealing. While fleeing for his life he meets a man named Bear who becomes somewhat of a father figure to him. Bear teaches him things he never would have learned and takes him places he never would have gone. On his journey with Bear he learns that his real father is a Lord. He also learns maturity and strength. I was not thoroughly excited to read this book, but once I started I could not put it down. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Avi once again captivated me with this story set in fourteenth century England. A thirteen-year-old peasant boy whose mother, the only person in the world who cares about him, suddenly dies. From the very beginning, my heart hurt for this young boy who, after being falsely accused of theft is forced to leave his village and run for his life. When he meets up with a giant of a man named Bear who takes him on as an apprentice mummer, he learns that his real name is Crispin and that he is the illegitimate son of Lord Furnival and heir to the throne. The villian, John Aycliffe, won't stop until he see 'Asta's son' dead. The action-packed chase through Great Wexley and the events that lead to Crispin's freedom were thrilling. The characters in the story touched my heart -- I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. I highly recommend this book to readers both young and old!
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading several of Avi's books as a child, my hopes for Crispin were high. As I read the book however, my anticipation quickly turned to disappointment. The storyline and the resolution were shallow. The story took place around a series of seemingly random events during Crispin's journey. Whilte the historical time was rather well represented, it still does not make up for the less than sterling storyline. All in all, I expected a story of more depth from Avi. In comparison to his other books many of which I have read, such as: The Fighting Ground, Poppy, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing But the Truth, The Man Who Was Poe, The Good Dog, and Blue Heron , I must say that Crispin was a big let down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keeps you wanting to read more.
mistywood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Crispin The Cross of Lead, written by AVI.This is a story, set in the Middle Ages, about a young peasant boy who becomes an orphan when his mother dies. The priest of the village knows a secret about the boy, and tells him his name is Crispin. The priet askes Crispin to return later that night, for he has many secrets to tell th eyoung boy about who he is and about his dead mother. Crispin is wrongly accused of stealing from is Lord, is then proclaimed a "wolf's head", meaning he is less than human and anyone may kill him. He runs away and meets a juggler who has his own dangerous secret. Together, they discover the secret of the boy, known only as Asta's son. I liked this story. It had many details about life in the Middle Ages, Great Britian. It told about the injustices of that time and the hard life the people had to endure. The book gave me a peek into the past lives of peasants living in the fourteenth century, and made me appreciate the freedoms we take for granted everyday.Extension Activity: Research the Middle Ages, how they lived, and have the students make a minature replica of a Middle Ages village. This would be a large group or small group project which would span over several weeks. I would have the students write a reflection about their research of the Middle Ages, specifically about how the peasants lived, how it differed from how the wealthy lived.
shelf-employed on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Avi's Crispin: Cross of Lead is a historical fiction account of a thirteen-year-old serf in 1377. The period is the late middle ages, and while the main characters are fictional, Avi makes use of historical events to set the tone of medieval England. The "Great Sickness" and the "Great Mortality" are referred to as recent history. King Edward III and the Duke of Lancaster make peripheral appearances, and John Ball, a priest who advocated radical ideas contrary to feudalism also plays a role. Crispin, who is initially known only as "Asta's son," and Bear, his strange acquaintance are the story's main protagonists.The harshness and finality of the feudal system is a major aspect of the book. Period language is sprinkled liberally throughout the book to add authenticity to the story. "Our food was barley bread, watered ale, and from time to time, some cooked dried peas. If good fortune blessed us there might be a little meat at Christmastide. Thus our lives never changed...... Time was the great millstone, which ground us to dust like kerneled wheat." Only the promise of Heaven gave hope to the peasant class, but even that promise was harsh and final "..we were fated to await Judgment Day. Then God's terrible gaze would fall on us and lift us to Heaven's bliss or throw us down to the everlasting flames of Hell."When Asta dies, "Asta's son" discovers that he has a true name, Crispin, and that some secret is attached to his name, which is written on a cross of lead. He is declared a "wolf's head," or marked for death by the John Aycliffe, the village steward, and he flees his village. Throughout the story he is pursued relentlessly.In his travels, he meets an itinerant juggler, Bear, and becomes forcibly beholden to him. Bear's ideas are strange and barely comprehensible to Crispin. Bear challenges the very foundations of Crispin's world - the feudal order and the Catholic faith. Bear teaches Crispin to sing and play music; together they travel from village to village entertaining the villagers. Over time, they become friends and Crispin learns that Bear is more than the jester he appears. Bear is educated, a rarity in feudal England, and a former priest. He is on a mission, agitating among the peasant class and gathering like-minded individuals to challenge the age-old traditions of feudalism and the Catholic religion.The story climaxes in their capture at Lord Furnival's palace in Great Wexly. Crispin, it is revealed, is Lord Furnival's rightful heir, and marked for death to rob him of his inheritance. Bear is imprisoned for encouraging a peasant revolt. Together they escape with their lives. Crispin symbolically leaves behind the cross of lead - his only proof of noble parentage. He chooses instead to remain with Bear, to reject the world order of their time and chart their own course in freedom and equality.Crispin: Cross of Lead is an excellent vehicle for showing young readers that they have a choice and a means for charting their own path through life. They need only to keep their minds open and their vision focused. Crispin shows courage in the face of adversity, determination in the face of despair, and loyalty in the face of danger - an exemplary protagonist for teens and preteens.
nittnut on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Crispin The Cross of Lead is a well written book. It is a simple tale that gives the young reader a view of the middle ages. The setting is the 14th century, and it is smelly and brutal. The descriptions of the lives of the common people and the serfs give a fairly clear picture of how hard life was then. Crispin discovers exactly who his parents were, and who he is, and deeper still he discovers that he has a choice about who he will become.. Somewhat predictable, but there are a few surprising twists, and the ending is excellent.The language is fairly simple, but well suited to the subject matter and the age of the intended readers.
BridgetteHarmon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although at first I was deterred by the archaic language that I felt was somewhat contrived and unnatural, this book is unmistakably interesting and powerful. It is set just before the Peasants¿ Revolt of 1381 in England, which is a fascinating period of British history. It is the perfect setting for exploring the radical, newly-blossoming ideas of universal liberty and individual freedom. I also appreciated Avi¿s treatment of the medieval church. He portrays both the positive and negative aspects of the church¿s permeating influence upon medieval society. Crispin has a devout relationship with God throughout the novel, although he is increasingly willing to question what he knows of God as his character develops. Bear is completely disillusioned with the church, but his bitterness seems to spring from a sincere love for God that was wounded by the harsh reality of life.Crispin is a very enjoyable read. Avi does an excellent job of holding the reader¿s attention all the way to the end of the story by disclosing only enough information along the way to whet the appetite. I am still not completely enamored of his attempt at medieval speech, but his characters are complex, true to human nature, and completely fascinating.
1morechapter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Avi¿s Newbery-winning book of an orphan boy known at first only as `Asta¿s son¿ is a familiar one, but it is also entertaining. When his mother dies, `Asta¿s son¿ soon finds himself on the run and is forced to flee the only town and home he has ever known. Leaving with only the clothes on his back and his mother¿s lead cross, he does find some people who are willing to help him, but are they truly friendly, or do they only want to find out who he really is and why he¿s being tracked?This book contained adventure, mystery, and history, and I really enjoyed it. Both of my sons read the book a few years ago, and I know they really liked it as well.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A boy, apparently a peasant boy known only by the name of Asta's son, finds his mother has died, leaving him an orphan. His whole world shifts and changes when he is given a cross of lead by the village priest and told that his name is the noble name of Crispin. Though he does not know why, he becomes the object of a hunt and soon Crispin is on the run for his life.While on the road, Crispin is befriended by a giant of a man known as Bear. Bear teaches Crispin the ways of the ministrel and together they make their way to the city. Neither Crispin nor Bear suspects that the city contains enemies of both of them. A riveting story of adventure, but also a story that encourages questioning and thought. Bear is a brilliant man and he shakes Crispin's small world.