Bestselling author David Elliott explores how Joan of Arc changed the course of history and remains a figure of fascination centuries after her extraordinary life and death. Joan of Arc gets the Hamilton treatment in this evocative novel. Told through medieval poetic forms and in the voices of the people and objects in Joan of Arc’s life, (including her family and even the trees, clothes, cows, and candles of her childhood), Voices offers an unforgettable perspective on an extraordinary young woman. Along the way it explores timely issues such as gender, misogyny, and the peril of speaking truth to power. Before Joan of Arc became a saint, she was a girl inspired. It is that girl we come to know in Voices.
About the Author
David Elliott is a NYT bestselling author whose books include Bull, And Here's to You!, The Evangeline Mudd books, In the Past, This Orq. books, and Baabwaa and Wooliam. Born in Ohio, David has worked as a singer, a cucumber washer, and a popsicle stick maker. He lives with his wife and a three-footed dog in New Hampshire. www.davidelliottbooks.com
Read an Excerpt
I recall it as if it were yesterday. She was so lovely and young. In her hand I darted and flick- ered away, an ardent lover’s ad- venturing tongue. I had never known such yearning, exciting and risky and cruel. As we walked to the church, I was burning; she was my darling, my future, my fuel. I wanted to set her afire right then. But she was so pure, so chaste; her innocence only increased my desire. Still, I know the dangers of haste. So I watched and I studied and waited, and I saw that her young blood ran hot. She had no idea we were fated. I could name what she craved; she could not. Then in her eye, I caught my reflection. In her eye, I saw my- self shine, and I saw the heat rise on her virgin’s com- plexion. That’s when I knew: She was mine.
I’ve heard it said that when we die the soul discards its useless shell, and our life will flash before our eyes. Is this a gift from Heaven? Or a jinx from deepest Hell? Only the dying know, but what the dying know the dying do not tell. What more the dying know it seems I am about to learn. For when the sun is at its highest, a lusting torch will touch the pyre. The flames will rise. And I will burn. But I have always been afire. With youth. With faith. With truth. And with desire. My name is Joan, but I am called the Maid. My hands are bound behind me. The fire beneath me laid.
I yearn I yearn I yearn my darling I yearn I yearn I yearn
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I was able to read this book in exchange for an honest review. *** Voices tells the story of Joan of Arc in verse. We are with her the final hours before her death and the story recounts from how it all started to where she’s ended up and how. The story jumps back and forth between multiple voices: human, animal and inanimate objects throughout. They offer snippets and insight into things most people probably don’t think about. I really loved the inserts of the trial as it happened being included the story. Voices is a fairly quick read, the poetry streamlines the story and makes it quite easy to zip through. I enjoyed this as someone who finds Joan a completely fascinating historical figure and while it maybe doesn’t offer anything new by way of information it helps make it a fair bit more accessible to those who get bored by history in general.
I did not know what to expect from this book since I wasn't sure what age range it is being marketed to, as it is being published by HMH Books for Young Readers. I am 25 years old, and I was looking up words in the dictionary while reading pretty often. I was interested in this one because I was in a play about Joan of Arc which was written as we researched and rehearsed it. It was such an amazing experience, and Joan isn't a historical character that gets written about much, especially for a younger audience. I think the cover of this book is what will draw people in. The layout of the book with its different forms of poems was so unique. We heard from Joan as well as her family and objects she interacted with, like swords, clothing, and places, and the author included actual excerpts from the two trials regarding her. Joan remembers her life towards the end of it, and the flow works well even for those who know nothing about Joan of Arc going into the story. I like that the author left the question of whether or not she heard the saints' voices open-ended, as it's true none of us will ever know for sure.