THE SUNBIRD by Elizabeth E. Wein
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 14 & up
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Wein is expertly mining a commingled Arthurian and African sixth-century history here, as she did in A Coalition of Lions (2003) and The Winter Prince (1993). Although a sequel, this can be read without knowledge of the other two. Goewin, British ambassador to Aksum (Ethiopia), learns that plague has come to Britain. She sets quarantine on the ports of Aksum, yet the plague comes through. She turns to Telemakos, young son of her brother Medraut and his wife the Aksumite Lady Turunesh, naming him Sunbird. The boy is wary, knowledgeable, and gifted. Overlooked because he’s a child, he has learned much of importance. Goewin sends Telemakos on a terrible journey in the hope of keeping plague from the land. The boy’s suffering, capture, and servitude, and his discovery of the traitor who defies the quarantine and thus allows plague free rein, are harrowing. So are his return and his pronouncing sentence on the traitor, his captor. This riveting tale also illuminates Telemakos’s growing and complex relationship with his father Medraut and his aunt Goewin. Intense, absorbing, and luminously written. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-670-03691-9
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2004


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