THE HUNTED by Peter Carter


Age Range: 14 & up
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 When Italy surrendered to the Allies in 1943, Italian troops in France retreated with a number of Jewish refugees--an act that Carter (Borderlands, 1990) commemorates with this heroic but loosely knit story. Fleeing both the Germans and the Milice (French secret police), Corporal Vito Salvani is separated from all his companions except little Judah Fleur; the two set off on foot through the mountains. Salvani is big, simple, and fundamentally decent; he speaks in gruff, semi-coherent fragments, uncomplainingly carries Judah most of the way and, when he finds the Italian border closed, doubles back through hostile territory rather than abandon him. Though their trek has some attributes of a conventional thriller, the plot here is secondary to the metaphorical struggle. Judah is more a Christ-child figure than an ordinary boy; the jacket art is not the only place Salvani is cast as St. Christopher; their pursuer is satanically handsome of mien but grossly misshapen in body and morals. The action frequently halts for a wider view: of the Milice's torture chambers, of the French roundup of Jews, of the horrors of the Holocaust and the depravity of those conducting it. Despite a tense climax, this reads most clearly on its symbolic level; thus, readers may find Zuccotti's Italians and the Holocaust (1987), a history Carter recommends, a more absorbing account of this little-known episode. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-374-33520-6
Page count: 326pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1994


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