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Is there a death after death? In Nangiyala there is. . . also tyranny, battles and adventure enough to test the courage of Jonathan Lionheart and his little brother Rusky. You see, both brothers die near the beginning of the story--Rusky from a long illness, Jonathan heroically in a fire--m and Jonathan has promised Rusky that they will meet in the kingdom of Nangiyala where ""it's still in the days of sagas and campfires. . . ."" But Nangiyala turns out to be far from peaceful; it is menaced by the ogre Tengil who commands a horrible dragon, Katla, and a band of oafish soldiers. Jonathan soon becomes a leader of the resistance and Rusky joins him, heeding Jonathan's philosophy (""sometimes you have to do things that are dangerous; otherwise you aren't a human being just a piece of filth""). Both boys infiltrate Tengil's stronghold in Wild Rose Valley, outwit the enemy soldiers (whose stupidity makes their success rather easy) and find their way past Karma Falls to Katla's cave where they rescue the imprisoned leader Orvar. The battle that follows seems destined to bring peace and security to Nangiyala, but Jonathan is paralyzed by Katla's fiery breath. So he tells Rusky about yet another, better kingdom called Nangilima and Rusky carries his brother off the edge of a cliff--into a second world, shouting ""I can see the light, I can see the light!"" The brothers' affinity with extinction and the curious, Nordic innocence of their brand of courage makes us vaguely uneasy; surely even in the realm of myth and legend which Nangiyala vaguely recalls, death was something more than an easy out. But if you can admire Jonathan's princely beauty and bravery as much as Rusky does, this simultaneously grave and playful fantasy will delight you.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1975
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Viking