From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up-In this story set in sixth-century Africa, Goewin, Princess of Britain, journeys to Aksum (now Ethiopia) after her father, brother, and half brother are killed in battle, to meet with Constantine, her cousin and intended husband, now the Viceroy of Aksum. There Goewin finds a kingdom mired in political unrest and intrigue amid divided loyalties. She also encounters a host of interesting people, including the son of her half brother; the boy's mother; and Priamos, one of several sons of the emperor, Caleb. The child Telemakos is wise for his years and he and his mother become Goewin's confidants and protectors. Goewin is a strong character, asserting her rights as the last survivor of her royal family and finding her way into the more isolated parts of the extended family. She is willing to take risks, expanding her circle of people in defiance of Constantine's wishes. For this she is eventually placed under guard and later, accompanied by Telemakos, escapes to safety through the dark tunnel of a tomb. This is a complex, but beautifully written story with many significant characters, some of whom are referred to by two different names. This makes it a fairly challenging book to read, but for teens who enjoy historical fiction, it will be a rewarding experience. This book is part two of a projected trilogy that began with The Winter Prince (Atheneum, 1993). The maps at the front and the appended list of characters and glossary will help keep readers on track.Jane G. Connor, South Carolina State Library, Columbia
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 7-12. Wein transports readers to sixth-century Africa in a richly spun historical novel that follows her Arthurian fantasy The Winter Prince (1993)
. The narrator, Goewin, is a passionate young woman who has recently lost her father, the high king of Britain, her mother, and brothers. She and her ambassador friend Priamos venture 4,000 miles from Britain to Aksum (present-day Ethiopia), where Goewin seeks to determine her fate as princess of Britain and promised wife of the viceroy Constantine. The story perks up considerably when she discovers the charming, precocious, six-year-old Telemakos, grandson of the high king. Themes of loyalty and betrayal, imprisonment and freedom, brotherhood rivalry (the coalition of lions), and love fill the pages of this ambitious novel whose magic lies in its emotional intensity and in the unusual vibrancy and intelligence of its characters. Readers unfamiliar with the first book may be frustrated by the complexity of the second, but royal family guides are supplied, along with maps, a glossary of terms, and a historical note. Karin SnelsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved