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The Purloined Boy: The Weirdling Cycle, Book 1 Paperback – April 2, 2009
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Silver Medal Winner of the Moonbeam Children's Book Award
Gold Medal Winner in the National Young Adult Fiction category 2010 IPPY Awards --Independent Publisher
...a great story, ...a pleasure to read. ...beautifully written... -- Teensreadtoo.com
...a fantasy world to rival the most unique. -- FlashlightWorthyBooks.com
...everything that kids look for in Young Adult books and more. ...a major find and certainly a joy to read. -- Fantasy Book Critic
...took me completely by surprise. ...Mortimus Clay's writing style is absolutely charming and sinister all in the same breath... --DreamStuffBooks.com
...a story that anybody can appreciate and indeed thrill to, but whose deeper foundations can be glimpsed by those with eyes to see. --Gilbert Magazine, the offical publication of The American Chesterton Society
This very competent work should appeal to middle grade readers and imagines a world in which children are stolen away from their families. Trapped in Superbia, where stolen boys and girls are watched over by guardians until they become food for the bogeys, Trevor wakes up in cold sweats every night from terrifying dreams. With the help of a spunky mouse named Zephyr and a clever girl named Maggie, Trevor escapes from Superbia and is reunited with Epictetus, a friendly slave from Superbia who is also a member of the Guild of the Sun-Eaters. After being pulled in two directions by guild members with opposing visions, Trevor finds that his greatest mission and adventures lie in the future. ...this jaunty outing -- and its cliffhanger ending -- could be just the beginning of Trevors story. --Publishers Weekly
From the Back Cover
The Purloined Boy is a work of fantasy literature for young adults. In parts dark and grotesque, in others luminous and inspiring; it could be described as R.L. Stine meets Plato. It begins with the question, Where do all those children on the milk cartons go? It provides the answer through the eyes of a boy named Trevor Upjohnthe purloined boy. Trevor endures the misery of life in Superbia but dreams of going home. He finds unlikely allies in an old man, a girl named Maggie, and a strange but powerful mouse named Zephyr.The Purloined Boy brings together the worlds of young adult fantasy and classical philosophy. It reads like a popular young adult fantasy, but for those with eyes to see, the book is suffused with allusions to philosophical themes and insights. These are never presented in a didactic manner; rather they are woven into the story to provide depth and richness without drawing attention to them. The Purloined Boy is intended to be both entertaining and enriching the sort of book that can be read again and again for enjoyment and profit.
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"The Purloined Boy" is a kind of parable (not an allegory, though it beckons an allegorical reading from its audience) about all that is wrong in our modern world—and how to fix it. It awakens us to the horror of modern education and its latent oikophobia—that is, the fear of home. The antidote? Oikophilia—the love of home.
In chapter 5, the doomed protagonist, Trevor, is in a waiting cell in the Sewage Works of Superbia, and he meets the “The Small Voice” he was promised to find and that he would need to follow. The Small Voice is a mouse named Zephyr. Zephyr allows Trevor three questions before they make their escape. Zephyr says, to quote from the book:
“I’ll only give you answers you already know.”
Trevor responds, “Questions, what questions? And why should I ask them if I already know the answers?”
“Good. That’s two out of the three, and they’re excellent questions.”
“Hey, I didn’t mean those to be my questions, I think.”
Ignoring this, the mouse went on, “To your first question—What questions? Good questions. You shouldn’t expect good answers if you don’t ask good questions! Now, to your second excellent question—Why should you ask them if you already know the answers? Because, my boy, asking helps you remember the answers! Here’s a bonus, I’m feeling generous today! Liking the answers takes work. It’s an acquired taste. That’s why so few people ask good questions. They don’t like the answers they already know.”
Trevor does have one question he desperately wants answered, and that question is simple. “Can I get home?” Zephyr’s response is to the point: “Yes.”
There is so much wisdom in this short passage. Every page flies by in this way, and nearly every page has a bit of sage wisdom—and hope. Hope even in the darkness of the cave. This book asks all the right questions, and through the magic of it’s story telling, shapes the reader’s moral imagination to not only like the answers to these “good, excellent questions,” but to love them deeply.
Do your kids a favor and buy this book for them to read. Do yourself a favor and read it to them…or read their book after they’re in bed. But beware! It will lead you to ask the right questions, and many are afraid of the answers to those questions. If that is something you’re afraid of, move along. As TS Eliot said, “Mankind cannot bear very much reality.” But your children can. And this book is an immersion in Reality, not in spite of but rather *because* it is a fantastic tale of the highest order.