One break in the ritual and disorder may develop, centuries of priestly rule may crumble. So--in Dickinson's strangulating Kingdom--thirteen-year-old acolyte Tron, who carries off the listless, drugged hawk meant for sacrifice, must be cut down--even as, in training the hawk, he is learning to live free. The rebellious young King reminds Tron that he too was once a baby at his mother's breast, one of the people, and enlists his aid. He flees in the coffin of the King's father, borne down the flooding river; barely escapes death at the falls where it ends; meets his predecessor, a crippled outcast priest whose spirit is unbroken; and with him and a second dissenter (not even the priests, he learns, are of a single mind), helps the King to open the doors of the Kingdom at last. His final act, appropriately, is to set the hawk free. It could be ancient Egypt or the uncertain future but it reads, thematically, here and now. Tron's break for freedom will have the unconditional support of the young.