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THE IRON RING by Lloyd Alexander Kirkus Star


by Lloyd Alexander

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-525-45597-3
Publisher: Dutton

A complex tale of honor and adventure, love and compassion, that shines with the dusky richness of an oriental tapestry. Set in a mythical India, this is the story of Tamar, King of Sundari, who, born to the warrior caste, must live by a strict code of honor. When mysterious King Jaya arrives at Tamar's palace in the middle of the night and challenges him to a high-stakes game of dice, Tamar loses everything. Bound by the iron ring that Jaya places on his finger, he becomes the other man's slave; in the morning Jaya has vanished--though the ring remains. Since it would be dishonorable to ignore it, Tamar sets out for Jaya's distant kingdom expecting to lose his life at the end of his journey--and what a journey it is. Joined by an impudent monkey, a beautiful milkmaid, and an eagle who has seen better days, Tamar comes to question everything he was brought up to believe in, especially the rigid caste system. A page-turning thread of tension appears in the opening sentence, drawing readers into a high adventure involving fierce battles, magical talking animals, and enchanted forests. All are rendered believable on the strength of an exceptionally well- realized cast of characters who grapple with their flaws, grow, and change. Laugh-out-loud humor leavens the story to perfection. (Fiction. 4-8)