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Crispin, The Cross of Lead
Click to search this book in our catalog   Avi

Book list Gr. 5^-9. In his fiftieth book, (see interview on p.1609) Avi sets his story in fourteenth-century England and introduces some of his most unforgettable characters--a 13-year-old orphan, seemingly without a name, and a huge, odd juggler named Bear. At first, the boy is known as Asta's Son, but when his mother dies, he learns from a priest that his name is really Crispin. He also quickly comes to realize that he is in grave trouble. John Acliffe, the steward of the manor, reveals himself to be Crispin's mortal enemy and declares the boy a "wolf's-head," which means he is anyone's prey. Clutching his only possession, a lead cross, Crispin flees his village into a vast new world of opportunity--and terror. At his lowest ebb, Crispin meets Bear and reluctantly swears an oath to be his servant. Yet Bear becomes much more than a master--he's Crispin's teacher, protector, and liberator. Avi builds an impressive backdrop for his arresting characters: a tense medieval world in which hostility against the landowners and their cruelties is increasing. There's also other nail-biting tension in the story that builds to a gripping, somewhat confusing ending, which finds Crispin, once weak, now strong. Readers may not understand every nuance of the political machinations that propel the story, but they will feel the shifting winds of change beginning to blow through a feudal society. --Ilene Cooper

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-As with Karen Cushman's The Midwife's Apprentice (Clarion, 1995), the power of a name is apparent in this novel set in 14th-century England. "Asta's son" is all the destitute, illiterate hero has ever been called, but after his mother dies, he learns that his given name is Crispin, and that he is in mortal danger. The local priest is murdered before he can tell him more about his background, and Aycliffe, the evil village steward for Lord Furnival, declares that the boy is a "wolf's head," less than human, and that he should be killed on sight. On the run, with nothing to sustain him but his faith in God, Crispin meets "Bear," a roving entertainer who has ties to an underground movement to improve living conditions for the common people. They make their way to Great Wexley, where Bear has clandestine meetings and Crispin hopes to escape from Aycliffe and his soldiers, who stalk him at every turn. Suspense heightens when the boy learns that the recently deceased Lord Furnival was his father and that Aycliffe is dead set on preventing him from claiming his title. To trap his prey, the villain captures Bear, and Crispin risks his life to save him. Avi has done an excellent job of integrating background and historical information, of pacing the plot so that the book is a page-turner from beginning to end, and of creating characters for whom readers will have great empathy. The result is a meticulously crafted story, full of adventure, mystery, and action.-Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list Gr. 5^-9. In his fiftieth book, (see interview on p.1609) Avi sets his story in fourteenth-century England and introduces some of his most unforgettable characters--a 13-year-old orphan, seemingly without a name, and a huge, odd juggler named Bear. At first, the boy is known as Asta's Son, but when his mother dies, he learns from a priest that his name is really Crispin. He also quickly comes to realize that he is in grave trouble. John Acliffe, the steward of the manor, reveals himself to be Crispin's mortal enemy and declares the boy a "wolf's-head," which means he is anyone's prey. Clutching his only possession, a lead cross, Crispin flees his village into a vast new world of opportunity--and terror. At his lowest ebb, Crispin meets Bear and reluctantly swears an oath to be his servant. Yet Bear becomes much more than a master--he's Crispin's teacher, protector, and liberator. Avi builds an impressive backdrop for his arresting characters: a tense medieval world in which hostility against the landowners and their cruelties is increasing. There's also other nail-biting tension in the story that builds to a gripping, somewhat confusing ending, which finds Crispin, once weak, now strong. Readers may not understand every nuance of the political machinations that propel the story, but they will feel the shifting winds of change beginning to blow through a feudal society. --Ilene Cooper

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-As with Karen Cushman's The Midwife's Apprentice (Clarion, 1995), the power of a name is apparent in this novel set in 14th-century England. "Asta's son" is all the destitute, illiterate hero has ever been called, but after his mother dies, he learns that his given name is Crispin, and that he is in mortal danger. The local priest is murdered before he can tell him more about his background, and Aycliffe, the evil village steward for Lord Furnival, declares that the boy is a "wolf's head," less than human, and that he should be killed on sight. On the run, with nothing to sustain him but his faith in God, Crispin meets "Bear," a roving entertainer who has ties to an underground movement to improve living conditions for the common people. They make their way to Great Wexley, where Bear has clandestine meetings and Crispin hopes to escape from Aycliffe and his soldiers, who stalk him at every turn. Suspense heightens when the boy learns that the recently deceased Lord Furnival was his father and that Aycliffe is dead set on preventing him from claiming his title. To trap his prey, the villain captures Bear, and Crispin risks his life to save him. Avi has done an excellent job of integrating background and historical information, of pacing the plot so that the book is a page-turner from beginning to end, and of creating characters for whom readers will have great empathy. The result is a meticulously crafted story, full of adventure, mystery, and action.-Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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April 30, 2007
At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA
Click to search this book in our catalog   George Tenet

Book list Tenet, former director of the CIA, has finally delivered his long-anticipated book. It was supposed to provide background and insight into the events of September 11 as well as the lead-up (and fall down) of the Iraq War. But most readers will find that Tenet?s hodgepodge of facts tangled with homey anecdotes, excuses, and mea culpas will leave them as confused as ever. Consider this--from the man whose job included briefing President Bush on intelligence matters six days a week: "One of the great mysteries to me is exactly when the war in Iraq became inevitable." Tenet, alternately the folksy Greek American kid from Queens and the high-charging power broker, is proud of the many things the CIA did right under his charge, such as disrupting terrorist attacks leading up to 9/11 (while, of course, missing the big one), and he writes feverishly about successes in Afghanistan and elsewhere during the trying months afterward. The book is at its best painting just how dangerous, confusing, and exhausting those days were. Then comes the distraction from terrorism that was Iraq, and according to Tenet, common purpose disappeared in Washington, and interagency warfare reigned. Cheney comes out looking bad, and Rice worse, but much of the blame for the ill-preparedness goes to the slightly lower-level neocons: Wolfowitz, Libby, and the hapless Douglas Feith, who seems to be hated by everyone who has written an Iraq book. Rumsfeld is hardly mentioned-odd, considering he was running his own intelligence service in the Department of Defense. As for the president, Tenet likes him--a lot. But in a telling few pages, Bush keeps trying to get neocon favorite Ahmed Chalabi off the payroll, and no one pays a bit of attention to him. Turning these pages is like walking through mirrors."--"Cooper, Ilene" Copyright 2007 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Book list Tenet, former director of the CIA, has finally delivered his long-anticipated book. It was supposed to provide background and insight into the events of September 11 as well as the lead-up (and fall down) of the Iraq War. But most readers will find that Tenet's hodgepodge of facts tangled with homey anecdotes, excuses, and mea culpas will leave them as confused as ever. Alternately presenting himself as the folksy Greek American kid from Queens and the high-charging power broker, Tenet is proud of the many things the CIA did right under his charge, such as disrupting terrorist attacks leading up to 9/11 (while, of course, missing the big one), and he writes feverishly about successes in Afghanistan and elsewhere during the trying months afterward. The book is at its best painting just how dangerous, confusing, and exhausting those days were. Then comes the distraction from terrorism that was Iraq, and according to Tenet, common purpose disappeared in Washington, and interagency warfare reigned. Cheney comes out looking bad, and Rice worse, but much of the blame for the ill-preparedness goes to the slightly lower-level neocons: Wolfowitz, Libby, et al. As for the president, Tenet likes him--a lot. But in a telling few pages, Bush keeps trying to get neocon favorite Ahmed Chalabi off the payroll, and no one pays a bit of attention to him. Turning these pages is like walking through mirrors.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2007 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Talk about an insider's account. Head of the CIA from 1997 to 2004, Tenet ushers us inside the agency before and after 9/11. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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