In a fractured realm, struggling to maintain an uneasy peace after years of civil war and religious tyranny, a twelve-year-old orphan and her loyal companion, a large and homicidal goose, are about to become the unlikely heroes of a revolution. Mosca Mye has spent her life in a miserable hamlet, where her father was banished for writing ...
In a fractured realm, struggling to maintain an uneasy peace after years of civil war and religious tyranny, a twelve-year-old orphan and her loyal companion, a large and homicidal goose, are about to become the unlikely heroes of a revolution. Mosca Mye has spent her life in a miserable hamlet, where her father was banished for writing inflammatory books about tolerance and freedom. Now he is dead, and Mosca is on the run, in search of a better life. With Eponymous Clent, a smooth-tongued swindler, she heads for the city of Mandelion, living by her wits among highwaymen and smugglers, dangerously insane rulers, secret agents and radical plotters. But the city is in uproar, for someone is once again printing seditious material and no one is quite what they seem. With suspicion and peril at every turn, Mosca uncovers a shocking plot to force a rule of terror on the people of the Realm, and all too soon merry mayhem leads to murder ...Funny, surprising and fantastical, with an unforgettable cast of characters, "Fly By Night" contains at its heart an inspiring truth - that the power of books can change the world.
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I discovered Fly by Night by chance, and it scares me that I might have missed the opportunity to revel in such an enveloping story and to marvel at such engrossing writing. Fly by Night is Oliver Twist meets The Golden Compass meets Fahrenheit 451. Written with a jubilant embrace of the English language and a Dickensian grasp of storytelling by first-time author Frances Hardinge, Fly by Night is the tale of a runaway orphan, her indefatigable goose companion, and her haphazard descent into a breakneck adventure involving murder, banned books, and floating coffeehouses.
Mosca Mye is 12 years old. Orphaned and living with her aunt and uncle in a village perpetually soaked by rain, Mosca steals a goose named Saracen and flees in search of the kind of life she has glimpsed in books. In this fictional world that resembles eighteenth-century England, unauthorized books are banned and women are strangers to reading. But Mosca?s father?a banished scholar and radical?taught his daughter to read before his death. As a result, Mosca has a mind of her own, and that determination leads her to make decisions that land her in the midst of scandal and political intrigue that just might lead to her demise ? or the end of a tyrannical reign.
The novel is marketed as a book for high schoolers, but I recommend ignoring that pigeonhole. After all, Fly by Night is ambitiously conceived and gloriously executed?a literary nugget that also gleams for adults. Hardinge imagines a world where the Artful Dodger and Bill Sykes could almost be lurking around the next corner. Characters are anointed with unlikely and entertaining names like Eponymous Clent, Aramai Goshawk, and Mabwick Toke. The world through which Mosca sprints and meanders is vividly familiar and yet singularly distinct?populated with a colorful parade of characters that includes an insane duke, identical-twin queens, and deified idols known as Beloveds (who bear such auspicious names as ?Goodman Sussuratch, He Who Preserves the Unwary from the River?s Embrace?). Mosca outshines all of the glorified, however, and her quest to find and save a banned printing press will enthrall readers young and old.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-05-08 In a broken-down medieval kingdom where reading is forbidden, 12-year-old Mosca Mye is drawn to a traveling con artist who "brought phrases as vivid and strange as spices, and he smiled as he spoke, as if tasting them." Hardinge's stylish way with prose gives her sprawling debut fantasy a literate yet often silly tone that calls to mind Monty Python. Plucky Mosca rescues the con man-called Eponymous Clent-from the town stocks, accidentally burning down her uncle's mill in the process. Their journey unfolds against a wickedly complex political backdrop, a fragmented civilization largely run by guilds of locksmiths, boatmen and printers (the only ones allowed to decide which books will survive). Mosca and Clent find themselves embroiled in intrigue between the guilds, an entry point to a sly bit of allegory involving a secret printing press and "dangerous" pamphleteers ("Truth is dangerous. It topples palaces and kills kings.... And yet there is one thing that is more dangerous than Truth. Those who would silence Truth's voice are more destructive by far," a teacher reads aloud). Along with an infusion of high-camp fantasy, Hardinge firmly plants in the novel the heroine's serious love of reading, which informs nearly everything Mosca does ("I'd been hoarding words for years," she says in an introspective moment, "buying them from peddlers and carving them secretly into bits of bark so I wouldn't forget them"). And the setting is detailed and complex enough to inspire many sequels. Ages 10-up. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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