Thirteen-year-old Leo is heir to the throne of Singara, a walled city populated by evolved lions, but before he can claim his birthright, he must survive a series of trials.
There are those who refuse to acknowledge Leo as the rightful successor, preferring a blustering warrior to the more thoughtful youngling. But the dangers within the city are equaled by the threat from the Maguar, a rival, supposedly lesser race beyond the wall. The Maguar revere spiritualism and story, while the Singa value only that which can be proved by science. Determined to stick to facts, Singa ruthlessly persecute those they have dubbed Spinners, Singas who spontaneously spew fiction. Although he reviles Spinners, Leo is struck by the urge to tell stories in the most inopportune moments. However, his gift is stronger than most: his tales are so powerful that his characters actually come to life. This ambitious series debut focuses on the age-old tension between science and art. With his shy reserve, fierce loyalty, and out-of-the-box thinking, Leo makes for an appealing underdog hero. Minister Laney weaves together folk motifs from many cultures, including Ethiopia, Korea, and Tibet (notes on sources in backmatter), further underscoring the spiritual thrust of this fantastical coming-of-age story.
A multilayered mashup of story and suspense. (map, cast of characters) (Fantasy. 10-13)