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Bell, Hilari. Fall of a kingdom.

BELL, Hilari. Fall of a kingdom. (Formerly titled Flame.) (The Farsala Trilogy, Book 1). Simon & Schuster, Pulse. 422p. c203.0-689-85414-5. $5.99. JS

To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September, 2003: Set in the imaginary land of Farsala, this fantasy features three teenagers: the spirited lady Soraya, daughter of the commander of the army; the commander's loyal bastard son, Soraya's half-brother Jiaan; and a clever peasant peddler named Kavi. Long at peace, Farsala is now in danger of attack by the Hrum, who have already conquered "half the known world." Much like the Romans, the Hrum have perfected the art of war but they also have laws to protect citizens and even slaves, in contrast to the Farsala, a society of "haughty, ruthless" nobles and downtrodden peasants. These nobles are superstitious, and demand a sacrifice by the army commander of what he loves best--his daughter Soraya--to help ward off the Hrum's attack. Instead, he arranges to secret his adored child away in a far land, with the help of Jiaan and Kavi. There Soraya makes friends with a desert tribe and learns to do magic and control fire. Meanwhile, Jiaan goes to war with his father, determined to at least hold off the Hrum for a year so that Farsala can attain the desirable status of an allied state rather than a conquered territory. In yet another plotline, Kavi, who has been a spy for both sides, decides that he must free the Hrum's Farsalan slaves.

The narrative point of view switches between the main characters, interspersed with episodes from an ancient Persian myth. Bell, author of other imaginative YA novels (I especially recommend A Matter of Profit), writes engagingly, blending history, myth, fantasy, and adventure, and readers will enjoy getting to know the strong-willed Soraya, the steadfast Jiaan, and the resourceful Kavi. It will be interesting to see how Bell brings them together in future volumes to fight their common enemy. This is more in the vein of historical fiction than fantasy but should appeal to fans of both genres. Paula Rohrlick, KLIATT

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescent and their teachers.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.
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Author:Rohrlick, Paula
Article Type:Young Adult Review
Date:Mar 1, 2005
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