Books by Sherryl Jordan

CHILDREN'S
Released: March 15, 2010

Two raffish lads pitch in to save the Queen from a mad inventor in this Monty Python-esque farce. After happening upon a vaguely threatening letter, rope-and-knot-loving orphan Wiff drags his best mate, dirt-eating Dirty George, from London to Brighton in search of a certain previously unknown Great Uncle Basil. The two are instantly imprisoned in Basil's underground lab, where thugs and mad scientists dressed in rabbit suits hop about, and pants are likely to drop unexpectedly thanks to a small device dubbed the "Zipper Extraction Button Removal Atom-Smasher." Here they learn that Basil, an ex-spy gone totally bonkers, is out to replace the Queen with a double during the festive Bangers and Mash Day celebration at Kew Gardens. Even with help from Basil's naïve but astoundingly capable ward Daphne, can the boys Save Britain? Replete with captures, escapes, chases, bizarre inventions and general tomfoolery, the antic tale will keep readers on both sides of the pond entertained. Instructions for several knots and a glossary of Britspeak appended. (Burlesque fantasy. 10-12)Read full book review >
TIME OF THE EAGLE by Sherryl Jordan
FANTASY
Released: July 1, 2007

A compassionate, heartfelt fantasy fulfills the promise of Secret Sacrament (2001). At 16, Avala is revered not just for the sake of her father's heroic sacrifice, but also as the One destined to bring about the Time of the Eagle, when the cruel Navoran Empire will fall and her persecuted Shinali tribe restored. While Avala longs to be a healer, she dutifully accepts her prophesied role of uniting all the enslaved peoples against their oppressors. But when her efforts bring forth only disaster and betrayal, Avala begins to doubt: How can she lead warriors when she wishes only to heal? Rich, poetic prose describes a world both familiar and exotic, woven together by dreams and visions. Avala's transition from naïve adolescent to mature, wise, yet still idealistic woman is delicately rendered. Still, her steely conviction paradoxically robs her efforts of suspense. And the reverence for the good in every culture reduces the complexity of human evil to the cartoonish menace of a single mustache-twirling villain. Yet, especially as a companion to the heartbreaking tragedy of the earlier volume, the themes of reconciliation and forgiveness bring blessed healing. As Avala would say, "a high lot beautiful." (Fantasy. YA)Read full book review >
TIME OF THE EAGLE by Sherryl Jordan
FANTASY
Released: July 1, 2007

A compassionate, heartfelt fantasy fulfills the promise of Secret Sacrament (2001). At 16, Avala is revered not just for the sake of her father's heroic sacrifice, but also as the One destined to bring about the Time of the Eagle, when the cruel Navoran Empire will fall and her persecuted Shinali tribe restored. While Avala longs to be a healer, she dutifully accepts her prophesied role of uniting all the enslaved peoples against their oppressors. But when her efforts bring forth only disaster and betrayal, Avala begins to doubt: How can she lead warriors when she wishes only to heal? Rich, poetic prose describes a world both familiar and exotic, woven together by dreams and visions. Avala's transition from naïve adolescent to mature, wise, yet still idealistic woman is delicately rendered. Still, her steely conviction paradoxically robs her efforts of suspense. And the reverence for the good in every culture reduces the complexity of human evil to the cartoonish menace of a single mustache-twirling villain. Yet, especially as a companion to the heartbreaking tragedy of the earlier volume, the themes of reconciliation and forgiveness bring blessed healing. As Avala would say, "a high lot beautiful." (Fantasy. YA)Read full book review >
THE HUNTING OF THE LAST DRAGON by Sherryl Jordan
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 1, 2002

In a well-realized medieval world, Jordan (The Secret Sacrament, 2001, etc.) introduces one small element of fantasy: the last dragon left on earth. Jude is no accomplished hero, but has a sort of bravery in him alongside a native intelligence and genuine kindness. After his village is destroyed by the dragon, Jude is taken in by Tybalt, who runs a sort of traveling sideshow that includes a Chinese woman with bound feet who is treated like a beast. Lizzie Little-legs and Jude gradually become friends and later partners in their quest to kill the last dragon. This beast has created great havoc in a drought summer, the fire spreading cruelly with entire village populations as victims. A sense of safety is provided by a narrative device that has Jude dictating to a monk long after all danger is over. Lizzie, whose actual name is Jing-wei, provides the knowledge of gunpowder and kites that are used to attack the dragon, as well as other Chinese innovations not yet common in England, such as silk and paper. Jing-wei consistently is the heroine, whose essential knowledge and determination make each step possible. Whether she will remain with Jude or try to return to her home country illustrates the tough choices of even involuntary immigrants and provides some additional suspense. Jordan creates an appealing and sedate romance in an unusual place and time for younger readers than her usual, more complex work. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
SECRET SACRAMENT by Sherryl Jordan
FICTION
Released: Feb. 28, 2001

Threads of history, legend, and dream interweave to craft an evocative myth of personal and national healing. Gabriel, eldest son of a wealthy merchant, is shamed by his father's coldness and haunted by guilt from witnessing the murder of a Shinali woman, one of the peaceful natives his Navoran forebears had dispossessed of their tribal lands. He defies family pressure and trains as a healer, earning initiation into the mystical arts taught at the Citadel. While learning to treat sicknesses of body and soul, Gabriel becomes embroiled in the political intrigues of the ailing Navoran Empire. After he reluctantly reveals his gift of dream interpretation, he gains the favor of the empress and the enmity of her ambitious advisor, Jaganath. Failing to corrupt or murder Gabriel, Jaganath tricks him into apparent treason, forcing Gabriel to seek refuge with the Shinali. There, he finds acceptance, purpose, and love, but also danger, brutality, and tragedy; and he must choose whether to embrace his ultimate healing vocation and redeem the prophecy that Shinali and Navoran will eventually flourish as one. Complex and richly symbolic, this deeply spiritual fable rewards thoughtful reading. Using vivid sensory images to subtly reinforce the healing metaphor, Jordan (The Raging Quiet, 1999, etc.) draws heavily upon the ugly history of European colonization, but avoids simplistically pitting evil invaders against noble aborigines. Even the villains act out of comprehensible motives, and minor characters unfold unexpected depths. And Gabriel, who at first appears impossibly saintly, matures into his destiny with an understandable resistance and fear that graces his final sacrifice with almost unbearable dignity and triumph. Heartrending and transcendent. (YA)Read full book review >
THE RAGING QUIET by Sherryl Jordan
Released: May 1, 1999

Against a medieval setting far away and long ago, Jordan crafts a passionate and sensuous tale. Marnie, 15, comes to Torcurra, newly wed to a lord twice her age. He brings her to a tumbledown cottage that belonged to an ancestor, and in two days falls to his death in a drunken stupor. The villagers are deeply suspicious of Marnie's role in his death, and become more so when she befriends a wild boy believed to be possessed by demons. Marnie finds out that Raver, as he is called, is actually deaf; she renames him Raven and begins to communicate with him in rudimentary sign language. Her only friend is the village priest, who finds her recalcitrant but full of goodness. Beyond some bodice-ripper elements, Jordan adeptly conveys the rhythms of ancient country life, of the tides and the plantings, of festival and gossip; also nicely spun out is the blossoming romance between Raven and Marnie. Fire and sweetness, the pulse of daily existence, how to cope with differences, and the several kinds of love are all present, wrapped in a page-turner to keep readers enthralled. (Fiction. 12-14) Read full book review >
WINTER OF FIRE by Sherryl Jordan
FICTION
Released: Feb. 1, 1993

From Jordan (A Time of Darkness, 1990), another tale set in an ecologically devastated future. Living in treeless mountains under cold perpetual clouds, human society has split into two classes: the autocratic Chosen and the despised Quelled, who mine the coal that's the only available source of heat. To general consternation, the ruling Firelord has picked Elsha, an angry Quelled teenager, as his new and only Handmaid; she vows to better the lot of her people, though it means battling centuries of prejudice. Though the scenario here is promising, Jordan focuses on Elsha's thoughts and smoldering spirit to the exclusion of believable plot development, background detail, and even character (Chosen and Quelled alike seem sketchy and unrealized). Meanwhile, Elsha sounds like a walking essay (``Your treatment of us is wrong, evil and unendurable,'' etc.); when she becomes Firelord after a perfunctory, awkwardly inserted battle, her decrees meet no determined resistance from Chosen who've previously responded to her with violent hatred. The emotion is affecting here, but relationships are confused rather than complex; loose ends dangle from the long, predictable story, and Elsha is unchanged by her experiences. (Fiction. YA) Read full book review >
THE JUNIPER GAME by Sherryl Jordan
FANTASY
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

A 14-year-old finds herself psychically linked with a young woman who was burned as a witch in medieval England. Juniper, whose wide interests include reincarnation and time travel, drags feckless Dylan Pidgley into her experiments with telepathy because he is a marvelous artist and can draw the scenes she transmits. Some of these are from the past— experiences of a young mother and herb-wife, Joanna. Juniper's mother warns Dylan that Juniper can be heedless, but Dylan is too fascinated by Juniper and by his own vision of Joanna's plight to withdraw. Events rush to a conclusion as Joanna is tried by the ordeal of water and then burned, with Juniper in danger of being pulled into a 20th-century parallel. Fortunately, Juniper and Dylan together find the strength to shield Joanna from the agony of her burning. With vividly depicted, believable characters, this is superior fantasy. Though Dylan is drawn like a moth to Juniper's flame, she soon realizes that he has a strength and grace that her sexier, older boyfriend lacks. Playing their drama against the death of a young woman in the past—whose love of knowledge resembles Juniper's, but whose quest leads to tragedy rather than love—gives the story poignancy and depth. (Fiction. 12+)*justify no* Read full book review >