THE BLUE HAWK by Peter Dickinson


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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, dragged 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 him that Tron 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, foreseeably, is to set the Blue Hawk free. The allegorical terrain is as well marked as a nature trail, raising the possibility that this--like others of Dickinson's fine fantasies--was originally intended for young people. It too is flawlessly executed but by comparison unoriginal--just without the snap of a twig.

Pub Date: June 22nd, 1976
Publisher: Atlantic/Little, Brown