THE STERKARM HANDSHAKE by Susan Price

THE STERKARM HANDSHAKE

Age Range: 12 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This American edition of a prize-winning English novel combines convincing historical detail, smart, engaging storytelling, and a simple science-fiction premise to produce an exciting, highly readable, and morally complex tale. Andrea, an English anthropologist of the near future, has been hired by FUP, a powerful international corporation, to study and live among the residents of the lawless 16th-century borderlands between England and Scotland. Having established a time-tube between the periods, FUP intends to exploit the natural resources of the past, and Bryce, the executive in charge, expects Andrea to provide him information to help manipulate the locally powerful Sterkarm family. Far heftier than is fashionable in the 21st-century, Andrea is the height of beauty in the 16th, and becomes the lover and intended bride of Per, son of Toorkild, the leader of the Sterkarms. While charmed by the warmth, wit, and loyalty of the Sterkarms, Andrea is appalled by the brutality and squalor of a life without medicine, plagued by disease and constant deadly battles. When Bryce, a cartoonishly evil bad guy among otherwise multifaceted portraits (he even taunts Andrea about her weight), who interprets the Sterkarms lack of modern polish as stupidity, decides to ignore Andrea’s council and use force and deception to control them, Andrea finds herself torn between her feelings for her adopted people and her loyalties to her own time. Along with romance, adventure, and the wonderfully rendered picture of life in the 16th century—you can smell and hear it as well as see it—adults and more sophisticated teens will appreciate the ambiguities of cultural values in conflict. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2000
ISBN: 0-06-028959-7
Page count: 428pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2000




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