Asta's son has no name. And, after the death of his mother, no family to protect him when he is accused of a crime he didn't commit. Declared a 'wolf's head' - meaning that anyone who catches him can kill him - he has no choice but to leave his village. All he can take with him on the journey is his newly revealed name - Crispin - and his mother's ...
Asta's son has no name. And, after the death of his mother, no family to protect him when he is accused of a crime he didn't commit. Declared a 'wolf's head' - meaning that anyone who catches him can kill him - he has no choice but to leave his village. All he can take with him on the journey is his newly revealed name - Crispin - and his mother's cross of lead. Travelling without purpose, through a countryside still ravaged by the effects of the plague, Crispin stumbles upon a juggler, a giant of a man known as Bear. Crispin becomes Bear's servant but the juggler is a strange master offering both protection and encouraging Crispin to think for himself. But Crispin is not safe and it becomes clear he is being relentlessly pursued. Why are his enemies so determined to kill him? Will the lessons Bear has taught him be enough to safeguard all that he now holds so dear...? Avi brings the full force of his storytelling powers to the world of medieval England.
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-06-03 Set in 14th-century England, Avi's (The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle) 50th book begins with a funeral, that of a village outcast whose past is shrouded in mystery and whose adolescent son is known only as "Asta's son." Mired in grief for his mother, the boy learns his given name, Crispin, from the village priest, although his presumably dead father's identity remains obscure. The words etched on his mother's treasured lead cross may provide some clue, but the priest is murdered before he can tell the illiterate lad what they say. Worse, Crispin is fingered for the murder by the manor steward, who declares him a "wolf's head" wanted dead or alive, preferably dead. Crispin flees, and falls in with a traveling juggler. "I have no name," Crispin tells Bear, whose rough manners and appearance mask a tender heart. "No home, no kin, no place in this world." How the boy learns his true identity (he's the bastard son of the lord of the manor) and finds his place in the world makes for a rattling fine yarn. Avi's plot is engineered for maximum thrills, with twists, turns and treachery aplenty, but it's the compellingly drawn relationship between Crispin and Bear that provides the heart of this story. A page turner to delight Avi's fans, it will leave readers hoping for a sequel. Ages 8-12. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2004-06-28 Set in 14th-century England, this Newbery-winning novel centers on an orphaned outcast who gets pegged for murder. "How the boy learns his true identity and finds his place in the world makes for a rattling fine yarn," wrote PW in a starred review. Ages 8-12. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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