SHADOWS ON THE WALL by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


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On a trip to York, England, with his parents, Dan is seized with terror at certain spots along the river that surrounds the town. He is also concerned about his parents' mysterious behavior, but this is explained to him when he discovers that Huntington's disease (better known as Woody Guthrie's disease) runs in his father's family. As it usually doesn't strike till middle age or later, there is no knowing whether his father--and, if his father, Dan himself--might get it. The other terror becomes associated with ghosts of Roman soldiers, which Joe, a scholarly cab driver Dan takes up with, tells him about and finally admits to having seen. (Fleetingly, Dan himself has a similar experience.) Joe also takes Dan to visit some gypsy friends, and while camping out with them Joe briefly becomes a Roman soldier, hauling off the resisting Dan for some unknown, urgent, purpose. The gypsy camp itself is a cauldron of hints and visions. Just how Joe and Dan relate to the ancient ghosts, and how that relates to Dan's future, will no doubt be revealed in the next two volumes of this proposed trilogy. Here Dan leaves York with an ancient coin obtained from a gypsy boy, and with too many plot ends dangling to make this a satisfying entity. On the other hand, there is too little substance and texture to make it a promising beginning.
Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1980
ISBN: 0689849613
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1980


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