In an engaging tale of a tyrant outwitted by a clever woman--based on a 12th-century ballad about a 10th-century Russian...

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VASSILISA THE WISE: A Tale of Medieval Russia

In an engaging tale of a tyrant outwitted by a clever woman--based on a 12th-century ballad about a 10th-century Russian prince--Staver makes the mistake of referring to his bride as fairer than any woman at the Prince's court; consequently, he is thrown in a dungeon and soldiers are sent to bring his wife. But Vassilisa disguises herself as an ambassador from the dreaded Tartar Horde, demanding tribute. Challenged to a series of contests--wrestling, archery, chess--she wins them all, and graciously agrees to accept the hand of the royal princess in lieu of 12 years' tribute, converting that in turn to Staver's freedom. San Souci's dark, formally framed watercolors pay appropriate tribute to the exotic setting, though his evocative landscapes are more successful than his rather stolid figures.

Pub Date: March 10, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988