Gods and Warriors: The Outsiders (Book One) (英語) ハードカバー – 2012/8/28
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'If an Outsider wields the blade, the House of Koronos burns...' Hylas is only a boy but he knows three things: The Gods exist. Magic is real. Somebody wants him dead. Hunted and alone, Hylas is desperate to find his missing sister. His quest takes him across the hostile mountains and treacherous seas of Ancient Greece. His only friend is a girl on the run. His only guide is a wild dolphin. And his murderous enemies are closing in... 'Electrifying' - Independent on Sunday 'The reader's attention is caught from the first line...spellbinding' - Telegraph 'Set to become another children's classic' - Books for Keeps Michelle Paver was born in Malawi in 1960 and moved to England when she was three. After gaining a degree in biochemistry from Oxford, she became a partner in a City law firm, but gave that up to write full-time. To research her stories about animals and the distant past, she has travelled in the Arctic, the Mediterranean and Egypt, swum with dolphins and killer whales, and encountered bears, boars and wolves. She is the author of the internationally bestselling Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, the final book of which won the 2010 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize.
Paver is the mistress of suspense (Amanda Craig The Times)
Heartstoppingly real (Independent)
The kind of story you dream of reading and all too rarely find (The Times)
A classic children's book . . . superb writing (Anthony Horowitz)
These books are full of magic, adventure and action, and they appeal equally to both sexes (Charlie Higson)
Like other great children's books which also entrance adults, Wolf Brother conjures up an utterly believable, yet original world where the story grips you to the very last page (Sir Ian McKellen)
* spoiler alert ** Actually, I am wavering between four and five stars on this one. Until I finished the book, I was thinking: what a lot I could learn from Michelle Paver! She has the gift of writing such a gripping story that you (I, at least) put down every other book in order to finish hers. She can also be trusted to do her research, write believable characters, and use good, clean prose. All this makes her books a pleasure to read.
This new series is set in Bronze-age Greece (before it was Greece) and Crete. I was extremely taken with the character of Pirra, a Cretan 12-year-old who has been promised in marriage to an Achaean lord she has never seen. Pirra is determined to escape. More than anything, she wants freedom to make her own life. Interestingly, until she meets the second protagonist, her best friend is an Egyptian slave who is like an older brother to her.
That protagonist, whom Pirra encounters as he tries to steal a boat, is the young goatherd Hylas. The book begins with Hylas wounded and running for his life from black-clad, ash-coated warriors. His goal is to survive the tumult he is caught up in and find his little sister. But, at every turn, he encounters more mysteries and more danger. He also makes a friend; a young dolphin he names Spirit, who saves his life when he is lost at sea. The relationship between Hylas and Spirit is reminiscent of the friendship between Torak and Wolf in the "Chronicles of Ancient Darkness". Paver writes animals and their viewpoints awfully well, and Spirit becomes the third pov character.
The fourth is Hylas's best friend, Telemon, who is caught in a terrible quandary. He has a relationship with the Crows, the warriors who have tried to kill Hylas, and who have driven Hylas's little sister further into the mountains. As a chieftain's son, Telemon is bound to obey his father. But he wants to help Hylas and little Issi. Can he find a way to fulfill all his obligations? I don't want to say more about Telemon's quandary, but I do hope we see more of him in further books. I could empathize with him, and, by the end of this book, he had come to a somewhat dubious decision, one that I hope he will rethink.
As for Hylas, he's a tough, illiterate kid - very capable and very ignorant at once. I liked the way he and Pirra, when stranded on a dangerous, sacred island, struck sparks off each other and also filled gaps in each others' knowledge. One of the things they discover is exactly why the Crows are hunting and killing outsiders like Hylas. There is, of course, a prophecy, and the Crows are determined to see it never comes true. The prophecy concerns a dagger which Hylas is given by a dying man. Hylas comes to think the weapon is evil and that it has a mind of its own. I think he might be right.
The reason I'm wavering between 4 and 5 stars is that, fine as it is, this story does not quite stand alone. I was frustrated that we never found out what happened to little Issi, and, at the end of the book, all four of the viewpoint characters have been separated. That was frustrating, too!
One of the blurbs about this series is that Hylas would be helped in his quest by three animals, a dolphin, a falcon, and a lion cub. We have met the dolphin, and he seems strongly linked to Hylas. I have a suspicion that the falcon will be linked to Pirra, and the lion cub to Telemon, the chief's son. We'll see!
Michelle Paver is not guilty of these writing flaws, her words create believable worlds and characters. Gods and Warriors is no exception, Michelle has created a book that all lovers of fantasy will enjoy. The adventures of Hylas as he travels through the ancient world of gods and demons will keep the reader wanting to know more.
This book gave me a lot of reading pleasure. I look forward to reading more books in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series.