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Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Crispin (Paperback)) Paperback – June 1, 2004
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After being declared a "wolf's head" by his manor's corrupt steward for a crime he didn't commit (meaning that anyone can kill him like a common animal--and collect a reward), this timid boy has to flee a tiny village that's the only world he's ever known. But before our protagonist escapes, Avi makes sure that we're thoroughly briefed on the injustices of feudalism--the countless taxes cottars must pay, the constant violence, the inability of a flawed church to protect its parishioners, etc. Avi then folds in the book's central mystery just as the boy is leaving: "Asta's son," as he's always been known, learns from the village priest that his Christian name is Crispin, and that his parents' origins--and fates--might be more perplexing than he ever imagined.
Providing plenty of period detail (appropriately gratuitous for the age group) and plenty of chase-scene suspense, Avi tells a good story, develops a couple of fairly compelling characters, and even manages to teach a little history lesson. (Fortunately, kids won't realize that they're learning about England's peasant revolt of 1381 until it's far too late.) (Ages 10 to 14) --Paul Hughes --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
"Time was the great millstone, which ground us to dust like kerneled wheat. The Holy Church told us where we were in the alterations of the day, the year, and in our daily toil. Birth and death alone gave distinction to our lives, as we made the journey between the darkness from whence we had come to the darkness where we were fated to await Judgment Day."
CRISPIN is the name of the 13-year-old peasant main character; although, the only name he's known for himself is "Asta's Son." That is until his mother dies, and in his blinding grief he stumbles upon a secret meeting in the woods between John Aycliffe--the steward of the manor--and a wealthy stranger. In a flash he finds himself the target of a plot in which he is falsely accused of a theft and declared a "wolf's head," allowing anyone to kill him on sight. On his way "out of town" the village priest tells the boy his real name, tells him to hide out for 24 hours until he can round up some provisions, and promises to reveal some more vital information the next day. Then the priest proceeds to get his throat slit and Crispin is on the run with the theft AND the priest's murder hanging over him. What happens to him is one of those stories that is so well crafted that you can taste and smell the settings, as well as hear the sinister growl in Aycliffe's throat, as you anxiously wait for something to go right for Crispin.Read more ›
Avi's novel tells the story of a young boy of fourteenth century England. He is a nameless, fatherless boy who becomes a fugitive when he is falsely accused of a crime on the very day his mother dies. Inadvertently becoming the servant of a strange entertainer named Bear, he slowly learns the truth of his world and himself. Forced to make some interesting choices at the climax of the novel, the nameless boy surprises the reader by becoming Crispin--but not in the way that might be expected.
If I seem cryptic, it's because I don't want to give away the wonderful twists at the close of the story. Avi has written a wonderfully readable novel which I would recommend to any reader.
Well, here's the deal - I am searching for high quality historical fiction in a variety of reading levels for a future project for my class. Avi's 'Crispin: The Cross of Lead' fits the bill perfectly for my students with lower level reading skills.
Set in Medieval England, Avi creates an interesting story and accurately depicts the toil of a peasant's life, pointing out some of the more interesting aspects of that time in history, including the plague, the power of the church, the massive amount of illiteracy, the filth, and more. What I like about it is that Avi writes a simple book without talking down to his readers.
This book fits my classroom's need wonderfully. For all of you teachers out there I strongly recommend it.
With nothing to his name except a lead cross that belonged to his mother, Crispin sets out on a frightening journey, full of danger and excitement, to save his life and justify himself. But no matter how far he flees, Crispin is pursued. The villagers know he didn't do it, but they continue on under the order of the steward. The same steward that made life terrible for the villagers. He increased labor, decreased pay, and executed the innocent. Why then, are they so eager to follow his orders?
In Crispin, Avi writes yet another incredibly delightful story, bound to hold any reader to the end. This tale of a courageous and hopeful youth will have a place in your heart, and you remember it for years to come. The pages are full of action and suspense, but also present interesting facts in a fun way. Although suitable for ages ten to fourteen, a person of any age would enjoy this compelling book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is amazing and lives up to more than the summary lives it up to be. You do have to wait till about 80% through the book till it gets super exciting . Read morePublished 4 days ago by elizabeth kroft green
My son couldn't put it down. Although it was required reading, my son would have read it regardless. Now that's a good book.Published 16 days ago by Shari
The book was in perfect condition. Amazing book that was enjoyed by the whole family!Published 2 months ago by Mary Bourne
this book is required reading for my daughter entering 9th grade..she thinks its "okay"..Published 2 months ago by Tracy Casey
This story was exciting, filled with engaging and heroic characters, historic and colorful venues that gave us a peek into the desperate lives of serfs and the obscene wealth and... Read morePublished 3 months ago by wildolive
I'm honestly perplexed as to if I want to continue this series. On the one hand, it does a great job of introducing young readers to feudal England. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dione Basseri