THE STERKARM HANDSHAKE

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. 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-06-028959-7

Page Count: 428

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly...

THE GIVER

From the Giver Quartet series , Vol. 1

In a radical departure from her realistic fiction and comic chronicles of Anastasia, Lowry creates a chilling, tightly controlled future society where all controversy, pain, and choice have been expunged, each childhood year has its privileges and responsibilities, and family members are selected for compatibility.

As Jonas approaches the "Ceremony of Twelve," he wonders what his adult "Assignment" will be. Father, a "Nurturer," cares for "newchildren"; Mother works in the "Department of Justice"; but Jonas's admitted talents suggest no particular calling. In the event, he is named "Receiver," to replace an Elder with a unique function: holding the community's memories—painful, troubling, or prone to lead (like love) to disorder; the Elder ("The Giver") now begins to transfer these memories to Jonas. The process is deeply disturbing; for the first time, Jonas learns about ordinary things like color, the sun, snow, and mountains, as well as love, war, and death: the ceremony known as "release" is revealed to be murder. Horrified, Jonas plots escape to "Elsewhere," a step he believes will return the memories to all the people, but his timing is upset by a decision to release a newchild he has come to love. Ill-equipped, Jonas sets out with the baby on a desperate journey whose enigmatic conclusion resonates with allegory: Jonas may be a Christ figure, but the contrasts here with Christian symbols are also intriguing.

Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly provocative novel. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 1, 1993

ISBN: 978-0-395-64566-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1993

Did you like this book?

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more