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Author: Leeds, Constance
Luc, a youth born with one ear and raised by a drunken father in fifteenth-century France, finds a better home with fisherman Pons, his sister Mattie, and their ward Beatrice, the daughter of a disgraced knight, and even after being kidnapped and sold into slavery in Africa, he remains remarkably fortunate.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.60
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 152685
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 16.0 Quiz: 58961
Kirkus Reviews (+) (05/01/12)
School Library Journal (+) (00/09/12)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (00/07/12)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2012 The volatile temper of the Count de Muguet, combined with his intolerance of any physical imperfection (save for a peculiar deformity of his own), impels him to derail two young lives. Beatrice, daughter of one of his knights, sees her father’s unjust execution at Muguet’s hand and is banished to live with her nurse, Mattie, in the cottage of Mattie’s fisherman brother, Pons. The Count’s own son Luc, born with one ear, is banished in infancy to farmers who he is raised to believe are his own family. Shortly after Muguet’s death, Luc senses a change for the worse in his adoptive father, and the teenage boy moves in with Pons to learn to fish. It’s a wonderful arrangement: Luc brings Pons luck at sea, Mattie has an extra pair of hands around the house, and Beatrice and Luc are mutually attracted, with the elder siblings’ obvious blessing. The idyll is shattered, though, when Pons’ boat is attacked by Saracen pirates who kidnap Luc and sell him into slavery in North Africa. His master Salah, an enlightened Arab scholar and skilled physician, offers Luc education, skills, and a broader view of the world-everything the young man could appreciate except his freedom. While Luc chafes under Salah’s velvet despotism, Beatrice refuses to accept that Luc is lost to her and instigates a search that uncovers family she never knew she had, the truth about Luc’s parentage, and the depths of the deceased Count’s villainy. Although the novel’s cover art emphasizes the act of piracy, this is more a story of intrigue and romance, with a well-integrated exploration of the meaning of freedom. Fifteenth-century France may not be the most requested topic for young historical fiction lovers, but Leeds’ stellar central cast, with their great hearts and plausible flaws, is bound to charm the audience. EB - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 07/01/2012 Set at the turn of the sixteenth century, this gripping novel combines feudal subterfuge, piratical intrigue, and fierce and shifting loyalties in a complex, meaty tale of adventure. Young Luc is growing up in a fishing village on France’s Mediterranean coast, a stranger from Provence, imperfectly born with a single ear. Adopted by an elderly couple and their young ward, Beatrice, herself an outsider, Luc learns the ways of the sea and is soon a trusted and indispensable member of the family. When Luc and his patriarch are attacked by slavers, Luc is kidnapped to Tunisia and enslaved to Hassan, a master who allows him to be educated, even as he keeps him close. Back in the village, Beatrice sets about finding Luc, and her search uncovers surprising truths that lead to a shining end worthy of a fairy tale. Leeds’ story, by turns epic, intimate, tangled, and romantic, takes a cast of indelibly colorful characters across continents steeped in a sense of place and paints a visceral picture of duty, perseverance, and their just reward. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.