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A Coalition of Lions Hardcover – April 14, 2003

6 customer reviews
Book 2 of 5 in the Lion Hunters Series

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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 Snelson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile; 1St Edition edition (April 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670036188
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670036189
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,553,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born in New York City in 1964, and moved to England when I was 3. I started school there. We lived practically in the shadow of Alderley Edge, the setting for several of Alan Garner's books and for my own first book The Winter Prince; that landscape, and Garner's books, have been a lifelong influence on me.

My father, who worked for the New York City Board of Education for most of his life, was sent to England to do teacher training at what is now Manchester Metropolitan University. He helped organize the Headstart program there. When I was six he was sent to the University of the West Indies in Jamaica for three years to do the same thing in Kingston. I loved Jamaica and became fluent in Jamaican patois (I can't really speak it any more, but I can still understand it); but in 1973 my parents separated, and we ended up back in the USA living with my mother in Harrisburg, PA, where her parents were. When she died in a car accident in 1978, her wonderful parents took us in and raised us.

I went to Yale University, spent a work-study year back in England, and then spent seven years getting a PhD in Folklore at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. While I was there I learned to ring church bells in the English style known as "change ringing", and in 1991 I met my future husband there at a bell ringers' dinner-dance. He is English, and in 1995 I moved to England with him, and then to Scotland in 2000.

We share another unusual interest--flying in small planes. My husband got his private pilot's license in 1993 and I got mine ten years later. Together we have flown in the States from Kalamazoo to New Hampshire; in Kenya we've flown from Nairobi to Malindi, on the coast, and also all over southern England. Alone, most of my flying has been in eastern Scotland.

We have two children.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I read The Winter Prince six or seven years ago and I didn't know a continuation was in the works until a few months ago. Which is probably a good thing considering how annoyingly slowly those months passed. It was not the sort of book you forget.
I read A Coalition of Lions in a day. It's a fast read and actually a good deal lighter than The Winter Prince, though that's not saying much. Though the books follow many of the same characters, the narrators are different and I thought COL was not nearly as intense. The history, descriptions, and imagery in this book were wonderful. There are some clever connections, excellent lines, and memorable moments as well.
While it deserves every one of those five stars, I couldn't conceive of saying it is as good as The Winter Prince. But this in a sort of Joseph Heller sort of way. When people tell him he never wrote anything better than Catch-22, he responds with "Who has?" My favorite part was Medraut hitting the target (well, no not really but that was great). He didn't get many lines, but I would (and did!) wait six years for him, too. Speaking of waiting, let's hope the next book is on its way to the printers.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Linden on November 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Wein has pulled together the finest fabrics of fiction and brought them together in one masterpiece of a novel. The book is thick with lush description of the colorful Aksum and equally enthralling characters.
Princess Goewin is swept off to Africa, where she is to marry Constantine, after her family is killed. Here we meet Priamos, son of Caleb; Telemakos, Goewin's enchanting young nephew, son of her half-brother; and Candake, the "queen of queens," and many more. As the story progresses, Goewin learns much from Aksumite people and takes matters into her own hands.
Over all, this is an excellently written book that will leave readers of all ages waiting for the next companion book (The Sunbird).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Bibliophile on September 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have been an Elizabeth E. Wein fan since I discovered Winter Prince a few months ago, and I think this book is amazing. I really like the character of Goewin; she's tough and smart and she is not afraid to try things a woman in her time did not do. I admire that, and I also like her stubbornness. :) I enjoyed the plot, the dilemmas involved in the succession of kingship (especially for Goewin), though initially I had to keep looking up the Ethiopic terms in the back. But I found the whole book enjoyable, and I feel as if I know and care about all the characters at the end. I hope Ms. Wein continues this series for many more books, because I can assure you I will read them all!
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