THE TAKER'S STONE by Barbara Timberlake Russell


Age Range: 12 - 15
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Russell (Blue Lightning, 1997, etc.) pens a fantasy with biblical overtones, in which a timid, bookish 14-year-old must save the world from the devil. Fischer reluctantly accompanies his adventurous cousin David to spy on vagrants. They find two strange characters who possess some beautiful, glowing stones. Entranced by the stones, Fischer grabs some from the sleeping pair, and runs. The boys use two stones to make wishes, but Fischer doesn’t realize he still has one, hidden in his pocket. Thereupon they begin a chase with Thistle, who tells Fischer they must find her father, Solomon, keeper of the stones, or evil will consume the world. Fischer, David, and Thistle, pursued by Belial and his minions, set out on the journey. Fischer learns that he’s stronger than David, but he may not be stronger than Belial, who plays upon Fischer’s weaknesses in an attempt to trick him into giving up his stone. Torrential rain and hail follow them, portentous of the disasters to come if Fischer loses his battle. While filling her story with credible characters and a vividly realized contemporary setting, Russell neatly ties her inspiration to a still-unexplained event in 1811, when strange disasters occurred. Every chapter begins with a quotation from the Bible, lending structure to this intriguing, exciting tale. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7894-2568-8
Page count: 231pp
Publisher: DK Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1999