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The Ancient One Hardcover – September 16, 1992

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel; First Edition edition (September 16, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399218998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399218996
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,358,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When an untouched forest of ancient redwoods is discovered on Native American holy grounds in the Oregon wilderness, a band of unemployed loggers sees only an opportunity to earn a living, not thinking of either the ecological or the spiritual consequences of felling the trees. Anxious to preserve the wilderness, Kate (the heroine of Barron's debut novel, Heartlight ) and her great-aunt Melanie set off to stop the loggers. Once in the forest, Kate is catapulted 500 years into the past, where she is caught in a fatal struggle over the very same wilderness. Kate's quest--to help the forces of light and love prevail over Gashra, the Wicked One, and his forces of greed and death--resonates through time, influencing events set in the past as well as those set in the present. This fantasy adventure offers well-realized characters, imaginative situations, high-minded theme and purpose, complex emotion, a smattering of really good fight scenes and a healthy dose of slapstick humor. Working with elements inspired by American Indian lore, the Lost World stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs and A. Merrit, and the works of C. S. Lewis and Madeleine L'Engle, Barron has woven a boldly original novel that is as thought-provoking as it is fun to read. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9-- Kate, who journeyed to a distant star in Heartlight (Philomel, 1990), now finds herself transported into the past. While visiting Blade, a town in southeastern Oregon, she is immediately embroiled in a battle between local loggers and her great-aunt Melanie, a retired teacher whose hobby is preserving the lore of a lost Native American tribe. At stake is a newly discovered crater containing several species of ancient trees. Events move swiftly as Kate accompanies her aunt to the crater to confront the loggers, who are determined to cut the trees down. Within the hollow of ``The Ancient One,'' the forest's oldest redwood, Kate slips back 500 years. Persevering on her mission, she encounters friends and enemies. While the story, with its rapid pace, inventive surprises, and feisty heroine, is entertaining, readers are left with unanswered questions. (How can a walking stick destroyed in the past exist in a present that is clearly a product of that past? Why does Barron undercut his repeated avowal of the interconnectedness of all life by casting reptilians in their cliched role as bad guys?) Also, by personalizing the conflict, the author chooses to ignore the complexities of international trade and corporate profit. Two deeply philosophical books, Ursula LeGuin's A Wizard of Earthsea (Bantam, 1984) and Patricia Wrightson's The Ice Is Coming (Atheneum, 1977; o.p.) serve the cause of environmentalism better. Purchase where fantasy adventures are popular.
-Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

T.A. Barron is the award-winning author of fantasy novels such as The Lost Years of Merlin epic--soon to be a major motion picture. He serves on a variety of environmental and educational boards including The Nature Conservancy and The Land and Water Fund of the Rockies, and is the founder of a national award for heroic children. Following a life-changing decision to leave a successful business career to write full-time in 1990, Barron has written seventeen books, but is happiest when on the mountain trails with his wife, Currie, and their five children.

Customer Reviews

I found this novel to be quite slow.
Lorraine Cormier
It's good fantasy with an environmental message.
Curst Saden
Highly recommend all of the author's books.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 4, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
T.A. Barron expanded his fantasy writing career after the critically acclaimed "Heartlight," with the follow-up novel "The Ancient One." His intense love of nature is melded together with modern concerns, time travel, legends and myths, and a cast of quirky supporting characters.
Kate is spending time with her Great-Aunt Melanie in the dying Oregon logging town of Blade. The people there are angry and afraid for their about-to-be-ditched jobs, and are threatening something Melanie is struggling to protect. Recently a giant volcanic crater was found to harbor a strange, "lost" land where the Halami Indians once dwelled. It's a mysterious, dangerous and beautiful place: There's a lake with a strange living island, a cursed spring that mesmerizes anyone who sees it -- and giant redwood trees that could keep the loggers employed for a year or two more.
When some of the loggers try to cut down the redwoods, Kate and Melanie set out to stop them. But when Kate takes Melanie's walking stick, she finds herself and logger's grandson Jody transported five hundred years into the past. After getting the help of a Halami girl, Kate struggles to find a way back to her own time. But to master the staff that took her back in time, she will have to battle the evil Gashra, an evil volcanic creature that threatens to destroy them all.
Showing concern for the natural world is nothing new in fantasy; it dates back to the Ents of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth. And it's pretty clear that Barron loves nature. At times "Ancient One" borders on preaching, but always manages to veer back; even the loggers aren't evil, just desperate and misguided.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 6, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Enter a world of enchantment and foreign creatures as you explore the world of wonders in The Ancient One.You will meet many people and learn the ways of life for different societies. I enjoyed reading this fantasy book because the author mixed very emotional and mythical ideas into the story's plot. Kate visits her Aunt Melanie in Oregon for a peaceful vacation away from home. Her parents are going on a trip and figure that she would like a chance to be with her aunt. Instead of a quiet time to relax with her, Kate gets a far more adventurous surprise. The ancient redwood tree in the middle of a grove of trees unexpectedly transportsKate to a time 5oo years before her own. Her companions are stubborn Jody, who is part of a group of loggers that are threatening to tear down the grove of trees, and a magical walking stick given to her by her own Aunt Melanie. Kate meets a friend, Laioni, who is able to communicate with her because of a special fountain of water that the Stonehags offered to them both. Laioni and Kate are on a mission together to help save all of the people who live in the "Crater of Life" and to restore peace to the communities in the crater. On this journey, the two girls learn about friendship and what a friend will do for another even if they risk something dear and precious. The girls have many victories, but one cannot always win. A great loss comes from this retreat, and the two must help each other to get through their troubles. To succeed in their missions, Laioni and Kate must overcome many fears and obstacles, work together, and most of all learn how to treat all beings with the same respect and dignity, for all have the right to live in happiness together. I recommend this book to all of the readers in this world.Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mrs J's 4-5-6 on April 5, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Kate and her aunt Melanie try to save the `Lost Crater' from loggers who want to cut the ancient redwood trees. By a magic walking stick, Kate travels back in time. She makes friends and enemies on her trip. She will need a broken touchstone to control the stick that will take her back to her own time. Can Kate save the Halamis from Gashra, save the Ancient One, and make it back to our time?
Everyone in our class reading group loved the book - except for the ending. :( The authors style was imaginative and very expressive. The sentences flowed for a good `read'. We would recommend this book because it was suspenseful, interesting, and educational. It's a learning experience book for children. You always wanted to know what was going to happen next.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 2000
Format: Library Binding
Some people really like to read books. Others don't. I like to say that I am a lover of books. I devour fantasy books by the dozen. Ever heard that books are food for thought? I take that to heart. One day in my search for brain food, I stumbled across an author so brilliant he outshines the sun. Each word that pours from his pen has the power to delight, to spring vividly to life, to amaze. Every drop of wisdom concealed in the words he weaves into his books never ceases to astound me. One day I found T.A. Barron and there is no doubt in my mind that he is the best author ever. His book "The Ancient One" holds the place of highest esteem: first place on my bookshelf. The adventures of Kate and her companions is a masterpiece to be savored by all.
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