“A stunning mix of high action, enthralling history and mesmerizing magic.”Alison Goodman, author of New York Times bestsellers Eon and Eona
“Combines history, fantasy, romance and the brutality of the Middle Ages in a satisfyingly epic novel.” Books + Publishing
Tuscany, 1096 AD. Luca, young heir to the title of Conte de Falconi, sees demons. Since no one else can see them, Luca must keep quiet about what he sees or risk another exorcism by the nefarious priest Ramberti. Luca also has strange dreams that sometimes predict the future. Night after night, Luca sees his father murdered, and vows to stop it coming trueeven if he has to defy his father’s wishes and follow him on the great pilgrimage to capture the Holy Lands.
Far away in Cappadocia, Suzan has dreams too. Consigned with her mute mother to a life in an underground convent, she has a vision of a brown-haired boy riding through the desert. A boy with an ancient book that holds some inscrutable power. A boy who will take her on an adventure that will lead to places beyond both their understanding. Together, Luca and Suzan will realize their true quest: to defeat the forces of man and demon that wish to destroy the world.
Kimberley Starr is a teacher and author based in Melbourne. She has a degree in medieval literature, and travelled through Turkey and Israel to research this novel.
|Publisher:||Text Publishing Company|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.75(h) x (d)|
|Age Range:||14 Years|
About the Author
Kimberley Starr is a teacher and author based in Melbourne. Her debut novel, The Kingdom Where Nobody Dies, won the 2003 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Best Emerging Author. She has a degree in mediaeval literature, and travelled through Turkey and Israel to research The Book of Whispers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
There is a story there but it was not for me. I like reading about demons but in this story they are talked about but not really developed. The boy can see them but his interaction is limited and nothing about them or why he can see them is explained, The characters personalities were rather shallow. Reading about the crusades, corrupt priests and people treating people poorly made me not want to finish reading this book. I only made it through about 50%. It was well written but it was not for me.
It is so unusual to find YA written about the Crusades. I was fascinated and horrified by this account, some of which is based on historical documents and actual events. What takes this historical fiction into the realm of fantasy is the inclusion of demons. These invisible demons were mostly attached to objects and secretly goaded people to do evil. In real life I think people are capable of evil all on their own but I can see that blaming human actions on an outside influence would be somewhat comforting. Despite the subject matter I don’t feel that this book was particularly religious in tone. It didn’t take sides in the Christian versus Muslim conflict but the Crusaders are the ones we follow into the battles and the Saracens are the ones being invaded so they are definitely more sympathetic than the invaders. The story showed the absolute brutality of the Crusaders and several times the main character Luca questions the morality of their invasion and if they are fighting for good or if they are murdering innocent families for their own gain. This review is a really difficult one for me because I’m torn. While I was intrigued by the setting and the time period I felt the plot was too slow at times. There were parts that were very exciting but a lot was pretty boring. The story could have been a lot tighter and more compelling but instead it fell flat. I also felt like the magical element was a little too convenient. Suzan and Luca would find just the right item at the right time or were given the exact information or warning they needed by the book and this was used to advance the plot a few too many times. It felt like a bit of a cop out. I think my problem is that I am more of a historical fiction reader and less of a fan of fantasy so for me the book would have been better if it left out the demons and magic completely. I’m sure a lot of readers would feel the opposite and be charmed by the supernatural elements but it just isn’t my thing. I also had a few quibbles with problematic details of the novel like how to mount a horse with two riders and the use of the term “Levant.” The horse mounting made me laugh because as described Luca would have been unable to mount without kicking his passenger in the head! The Levant issue actually really annoyed me because it was used repeatedly in an inappropriate time period and geographical area. I should admit that I’m a Near Eastern archaeologist so this is likely an issue only I care about and I imagine few other readers would even notice but it really got my goat! The most important thing I have taken away from this book is what I believe is the main message of tolerance and peace. It was pretty shocking to witness the atrocities that the Crusaders inflicted on the Saracens in the name of religion. The Christian Crusaders completely depersonalized the Muslim Saracens so they could slaughter them and invade their cities without guilt and perpetuate horrific violence on men, women and children. This feels like an especially relevant lesson for today’s world. Although there are no literal demons (as far as I know) prodding world leaders to make hateful, destructive decisions I think the Crusades as depicted in this story are a good example of where dehumanizing other religions or groups of people can lead. Let us learn from history and not repeat it. Thank you to Text Publishing Company for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.