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Flame (Book of Sorahb) Hardcover – October 1, 2003

35 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Farsala Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gr. 6-10. Here's a rousing start to a new series, The Book of Sorahb, from the author of A Matter of Profit (2001) and The Goblin Wood (2003). Steeped in Persian mythology, the story is set in Farsala, a peaceful land now targeted for invasion by the Hrum, who have already conquered 28 other countries. As the enemy advances, routing the overconfident Farsalan army, three young people caught up in the fray move inexorably toward new futures in which they will play leading roles in the outcome and aftermath of the war. They are Soraya, the spoiled daughter of the Farsalan army's high commander; Jiaan, the high commander's peasant-born bastard son; and Kavi, an itinerant peddler and sometime con artist. Intrigue builds upon intrigue, with a history of Farsala woven into the story's main events. Once again Bell proves a master at crafting distinctive societies and characters, and readers will eagerly await the promised future installments. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


School Library Journal, starred review Adventure, mythology, politics, military tactics, and intrigue combine in this sweeping fantasy that draws its underpinnings from ancient Persian poetry and the relentless march of the Roman army.

Tamora Pierce An amazing tale of adventure, fear, magic, conquest, and rebellion! --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 890L (What's this?)
  • Series: Book of Sorahb (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689854137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689854132
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,866,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Me the writer--a loose, not-really-biography of Hilari Bell.

A lot of writers will tell you that they've been writers from the time they were children--well, I'm not one of those people. I was always a reader. There's nothing better than falling into the world of a book and just living there till the story's over...and even then, it stays in your head and heart. At least, the best ones do. But writing came a lot later, in school assignments--which I enjoyed, but still, assignments. Homework no less.

I started writing seriously when I first got out of library school. I'd been reading picture books preparing to do storytimes, and I thought, "Picture books. They're short. They're for little kids. How hard could it be?" Several years and dozens of unsold--and unsalable--picture books later I'd found out how hard they could be! Picture books are harder to write (a good one, anyway) than anything except poetry. And they're harder to sell than anything but poetry, too.

One of the things I've learned about writing over the years is to never say never, because whenever I've said "I will never write XYZ" within a few years I end up writing it. Some true examples: I could never write a novel. I could never write a young adult novel. I could never write science fiction. I could never write an adult novel. I could never make those books a romance. (OK, so I haven't actually made them into a romance, but a lot more romantic elements are creeping into my writing.) I should probably say, I could never write a best seller, just to see what would happen... Hmm. I could never write a best seller!

OK, Murphy's Law being what it is, that probably won't work. If for no other reason than that, primarily, I write for me. This is something I probably shouldn't admit, but I don't really care that much about my audience. (Sorry, audience.) I write the books I want to read. I tell the stories that I want to tell. And I write to make the story the best it can be...because the story is what I care about it. I love it when other people care about my stories too, but that's not my primary motivation. Which is the other reason "I could never write a best seller."

(I know it probably won't work--but it doesn't hurt to try, now does it?)


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Fall of a Kingdom

By: Hilari Bell

*Main Characters - There are three main characters in Fall of a Kingdom, Jiaan, Kavi, and Soraya. Jiaan is a nineteen-year-old boy that has brown, curly hair and brown eyes. He is loyal to his country, Farsala, and is the Chief Commander Merhab's assistant. Kavi is a sixteen-year-old with brown hair and eyes also. He has a hurt right hand and makes a living as a peddler on the road. Soraya is a fifteen-year-old with black hair and brown eyes. She is Commander Merhab's daughter and is usually very spoiled.

*Plot - The land of Farsala is preparing for an attack from the mighty Hrum. But while this is happening, the Farsalan high priests demand a sacrifice of Commander Merhab's daughter, Soraya. Soraya is exscorted out into the mountains and left alone, but there are still Farsalan spies watching her. The Commander sends Jiaan, his son and assistant, to rescue her and hide her.

Once the high priests believed that Soraya was sacrificed, Farsala begins to practice their charge for their battle with the Hrum. But the Hrum have spies that inform them of Farsala's plans. So the Hrum construct lances to kill the charge, then they will try to defeat the Farsalans with their mighty infantry and stronger swords. The fate of Farsala lies in the hands of its leaders' wisdom.

*Setting - The setting is in the land of Farsala. Farsala is a country with deserts, forests, and high mountains. Fall of a Kingdom takes place in what would be medieval times.

*Theme - The theme in the book is "Never Give Up". There are a couple of things that show this. After Farsala is beaten and Jiaan has nothing left, he still gathers up what resources his country has and plans to attack the Hrum.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Cheesehead on October 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
Probably the best thing that this book did for me is to make me read the sequel. I applaud the way this book is structured because it set the stage for a fast paced, truly inspiring sequel. That being said, on it's own this book is choppy and very puzzling. You must understand that if the sequel had not answered my questions and filled out the characters a bit, this would be a very different review. Kavi is very dislikable, and Jiaan is a goody-two-shoes, but they both evolve in the next book (Thankfully so does Soraya). My advice for all the people reading this book: purchase a copy of the next book and read them together. You will see the reason I am giving this 5 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
this is the best book i have and ever will read. the book is full of action once i got far enough i could NOT put the book down. if you like spying, adventure, history, medievil times, and action this is the book for you. what one character does effects the other characters (exept soraya.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tin Heart Tomes on December 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
This trilogy came highly recommended by Tamora Pierce, who is one of my all-time favorite authors, and my brother, who I almost always listen to in the area of books. Tamora Pierce has listed this book on one of her recommended reading lists (and yes, I do stalk those when I'm bored). I was a little hesitant when I read the excerpt because, while I do love fantasy, I don't always enjoy worlds where the author makes up half of the worlds and the culture is just so out there. With all the 'Time's Wheel turning...' and Sorahb business, it raised some eyebrows for me. But I'm glad I decided to go ahead and read this anyway; I was pleasantly surprised. Fall of a Kingdom takes place in the land of Farsala, where the people have more or less prospered in their flawed system for many years. An ancient tale tells that when the land is in danger, an old hero will be reborn to save it. The people have not needed this hero, and the story had become more of a myth than fact. But then comes talk of a new enemy, the Hrum, who have been sweeping through other countries and quickly destroying them. The Hrum are just and fair, giving the common people the same rights as anyone else. The current ruling class in Farsala, the deghans, are the complete opposite. They take what they can, anyway they can, and spit on the peasants who work for them.

The story switches between the stories of Jiaan- the illegitimate child of deghan who is treated like a peasant, Kavi-a traveling tradesman who finds himself helping the Hrum and the deghans, and Soraya- a young noble woman with enough spirit to take on the whole Hrum army herself. The characters are so well done that I think they may have been my favorite part of this whole book. They are not static or flat in anyway.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gold on June 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
I had some trouble getting in to this book. I was not particularly thrilled with the main female lead, Soraya. I got the point that she was rich, stuck up, mean, self centered, snob. I did not need to be beaten over the head with this fact.

I'm glad I got over that, because setting Soraya aside for this first book, and the fact that most of the male names and other made up names sound awful (Seriously, if the djinn are gods, why make up a name for them like djinn? Or ghan, deghan, and deghass for the ruling hierarchy?) I really enjoyed this book. It is fast paced, and easy to read. Yet the characters are still vivid, and the plot is not simple or dull, once you get past the initial set up.

I have been a bit disappointed so far with the trilogy (I'm on book two) with the way it incorporates magic. About halfway through the first book, I'm flipping to the back cover going, "it DID say it had magic, didn't it?" I mean, if there's no magical element, what makes it fantasy? It does eventually get to it, but it is never a big part of the first book, and I get the impression it never will be a focus point.

So why a five star if I had some disappointments? Well, anything that I can read for three hours and look up at the clock and go "Holy crap! When did that happen?!" is a five star book in my opinion. So I highly recommend this book to anyone who is not obsessed with showy, unnecessary, grandiose, pompous language and plot, and just enjoys an interesting, fun, captivating, easy read.
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