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Grimpow: The Invisible Road Hardcover – October 9, 2007


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; First Edition Thus edition (October 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385733747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385733748
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,780,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–8—When a 14th-century peasant boy stumbles onto a mysterious corpse, his life is inexorably altered. From the hand of the dead knight, Grimpow extracts a talisman that turns out to be no less than the famed philosopher's stone over which kings and popes have tortured and killed in order to gain its possession and its powers. Hiding from the Inquisition in a local abbey, Grimpow discovers that the stone enables him to read and learn at a remarkable pace, but he is filled with the sense that he must fulfill a quest begun by the mysterious knight. Setting out as squire to a dashing young noble, Grimpow must not only solve riddles posed by the stone, but also survive brutal battles to keep it. This attempt at high fantasy leans heavily on the current fascination for tales of the Knights Templar, enigmatic quests, and young boys with special powers. However, a plodding story line that weaves in too many threads (the Inquisition, Copernican and Galilean theories of astronomy and alchemy, among others) without explanation will leave readers baffled and struggling to make sense of all the drama. Add an abrupt and unsatisfying ending and this becomes, at best, an additional purchase.—Sharon Grover, Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, October 29, 2007:
Ábalos blends the grand-scale storytelling prowess and epic quest element of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings with the cryptographic intrigue of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.”

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Customer Reviews

This is a great book for anyone (as I am no "young adult").
S. Lopez
While it may be hard to put the book down, it is fun to stop reading and try to figure out the riddles by yourself or even with a few friends.
TeensReadToo
It was a very long book and at some parts I felt it going on and on.
Rebecca Ann Lenski

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In 1313 in mountainous France, youngster Grimpow sees the corpse. He had no idea who this dead person is, but scared he brings adult Durlib to look at the body. Durlib says the deceased died peacefully and wrenches a stone out of the man's clenched hand. He tosses the stone to Grimpow. The pair examines a nearby bag containing a large booty. They argue over what to do with the silver coins, ruby and emerald covered daggers, and precious jewels; as Durlib insists they are tramps and thieves while Grimpow says they are not grave robbers. However, they also find a letter written in an unknown alphabet containing a strange seal of a snake swallowing its tail.

Grimpow may learn to regret the last item he grabbed. As he holds the stone as an amulet, he begins seeing weird visions of unknown locales. Frightened further because now Grimpow can read the letter as if the language was something he always knew, but the note is for someone else who Grimpow fears will soon be coming for the bearer of the letter. Even worse befalls him when he finds he cannot leave the letter or the stone behind as if they are part of him. Thus begins Grimpow's centuries' journey on "The Invisible Road".

GRIMPOW is a fascinating fantasy that readers will appreciate because as the hero's adventures occur, he learns more about the stone he possesses or as he has come to believe possesses him. Interestingly men have grasped this amulet, but never owned it; however, Grimpow is the first child to hold the stone. Readers will want to travel alongside Grimpow as he unlocks the secrets of the stone.

Harriet Klausner
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kat Hooper VINE VOICE on July 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Grimpow: The Invisible Road was written for young adults by Spanish lawyer Rafael Abalos and translated to English after its success in Europe. The story is a medieval mystery/historical fantasy set in early 14th century Europe.

Grimpow is an illiterate orphan who stumbles upon the dead body of one of the last of the Knights Templar who was on a quest to secure the philosopher's stone from the grasp of King Philip IV and Pope Clement V. The king and pope, in order to get control of the stone and its promise of wealth and wisdom, had accused the Knights of heresy and were in the process of eliminating them. On the dead knight, Grimpow finds a letter, a seal, and a magical stone which gives him the ability to understand written languages and the desire to find wisdom. He takes up the search for wisdom while trying to keep the stone out of the hands of King Philip's inquisitor.

The book's pace is slow at first, while Grimpow spends a lot of time in an abbey reading forbidden scientific manuscripts and questioning the monks. There's a lot of reading and talking going on, and not much action. I got the impression that Abalos was using this as "teaching time" and we get a few mini-lectures on history, astronomy, mythology, geometry, mathematics, architecture, the arts, alchemy, and the nature of God and wisdom. There's a lot of name-dropping going on here, too: Aristotle, Socrates, Pythagoras, Ptolemy, Plato, etc.

Things pick up when Grimpow, who has become very wise by this time, decides it's time to leave to search for wisdom. So he becomes the squire of an Italian knight who, though Grimpow doesn't know it yet, has some connections with the Templars and the sages who discovered the stone centuries before.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By S. Lopez on December 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I was looking for a book to read during my commute on the train and this was handed to me by my wife. She told me not to freak out as it was a "young adult" book. I had low expectations after that comment but should have known better. I could not put it down. I found myself still reading it in the train station after I arrived at my stop, at lunch to finish up a chapter, and after I got home. This is a great book for anyone (as I am no "young adult"). I am curious to hear if there is a follow up book to this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeannie Mancini VINE VOICE on February 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Grimpow, by Rafael Abalos, is an outstanding debut historical novel written for young adults in the style of The Da Vinci Code, only better. Much much better. This is an incredible top-notch art-history mystery adventure tale that will engross readers of all ages from the opening paragraphs right through to the last page.

Grimpow, together with a friend, is a teenage boy living off the land as a local bandit and thief. One day as he is passing through the forest he finds a dead body in the snow, a well dressed older man with a pouch of gold nuggets, silver coins, jewel encrusted daggers and a mysterious brown stone. In fear that they will be accused of murder, the boys flee to the nearest abbey where they have been befriended in the past when in need of food and shelter. Soon after their arrival, an evil knight comes knocking, and searching, knowing that someone nearby has found the dead body of a man they have been pursuing. Pursuing because the man had been traveling with a hidden secret that will reveal the grandest of all treasures to be found by mankind. The Abbot and resident monks at the abbey hide Grimpow and his friend underneath the abbey in tunnels that lead to hidden rooms and a secret library. And here, tucked away in this vast and wondrous library, is where Grimpows story, and journey, begins.

The evil knight takes Grimpow's friend captive, but because he was hidden away, they were not aware of Grimpows existence. Saved by the monks, Grimpow is soon educated in all manners of knowledge. He is taught the arts of language, literature, religion, art, science, and astronomy, and soon hears of the incredible story of the lost treasure of the Knights Templar in which he will soon learn, is his destiny.
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