ENCOUNTER AT EASTON by Avi

ENCOUNTER AT EASTON

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Age Range: 10 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

            Robert Linnly and Elizabeth Mawes, the boy and girl runaways aided by orphan Peter York in Night Journeys (1979), continue their flight in this crisp chronicle, which is presented as testimony by a number of those involved in the story.  (Avi whets curiosity by plunging straight into the testimony, without indicating what exactly is being investigated in the 1768 hearing.)  Among those whose alternating statements take up and carry on the story are John Tolivar of Trenton, to whom the runaways are bonded as indentured servants; Nathaniel Hill, a sleazy adventurer, paid to retrieve Elizabeth (he’s been told that the boy has been captured, but doesn’t know that Robert has escaped); Robert himself, describing the flight and his growing concern for Elizabeth (Bet) when she becomes ill from an infected arm wound; and George Clagget, the constable at Easton, whom Hill enlists to fetch the girl when he learns that she is being cared for in the nearby cave of old Mad Moll.  Moll herself was once a girl of good family, but was rejected by parents and fiancé when she was raped by a soldier.  For a time, as Bet lies ill in the cave, Robert works as a servant boy to Hill.  Gradually, each comes to suspect the other’s identity.  There is a final, fast-action confrontation in Mad Moll’s cave, and before it is over Elizabeth is dead.  The story’s pace is brisk and Avi’s testimonial format gives a clean, unsentimental tone to the sentimental-melodrama content.  It also tends to perpetuate the problem with Night Journeys – namely, the absence of any personal observation, feeling, or quality that would not show up in the well-edited court records.      10-12

Pub Date: April 1st, 1980
ISBN: 0380732416
Page count: 148pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1980




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