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Avi. The Book Without Words.

AVI. The Book Without Words. Hyperion. 204p. c2005.0-7868-0829-2. $15.99. J

Avi, author of the Newbery Medal-winning Crispin." The Cross of Lead as well as many other novels for young readers, returns to medieval England for this tale about magic and greed. The Book Without Words, a work of spells that appears to be just blank pages, was stolen from a monastery by a man named Thorston when he was young. Now Thorston is an old man, an alchemist, and on his deathbed he seeks a green-eyed reader who can reveal the book's secrets and grant him immortality. His servant girl, Sybil, and his talking raven, Odo, hunt for a green-eyed reader and find not one but two boys who fit the bill, one sweet and one sour; bury and rebury their not-quite-dead master: and contend with a mysterious monk who is trying to retrieve the book and with the city reeve, who wants the alchemist's gold.

Endnotes explain that the story is meant to be a fable, and also tell a bit about the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, alchemy, the story's setting, and Saint Elfleda, who appears as a character. This is an appealingly creepy tale that features details of life in the Middle Ages along with a feisty heroine and a message about the dangers of greediness. A lively read. Paula Rohrlick, KLIATT

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.
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Author:Rohrlick, Paula
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2005
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