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A Lion Among Men: Volume Three in the Wicked Years (The Wicked Years #03)by Gregory Maguire
With this latest installment, it has become clear that Gregory Maguire's already politically subversive Wicked Years series is growing ever darker. A Lion among Men is devoted to (as you may have guessed) the story of the Cowardly Lion, known here as Brrr. His start in life was not a good one, and since then, he's met with abuse and indignity at the hands of humans, who are supposed to consider him an equal because he is an Animal (with a capital A), which means that he has all of the intellectual faculties, including literacy, that people do. In order to survive a government-sponsored purge of Animals, he takes Hobson's choice and "agrees" to service in this corrupt government, which is headed by the born-again Apostle Emperor. Hmm... that sounds like a familiar country, doesn't it? Maguire has once again produced a novel filled with fantasy, intrigue, and shadowy introspection with his singular combination of rich and piquant language.
A worthy next chapter in the Wicked saga, A Lion among Men is a reflective, enlightening look at Maguire's Oz from an Animal's perspective.
Synopses & Reviews
"Hardly more than a kitten...I had thought to call it Prrr, but it shivers more often than it purrs, so I call it Brrr instead." —From Wicked
Since Wicked was first published in 1995, millions of readers have discovered Gregory Maguire's fantastically encyclopedic Oz, a world filled with characters both familiar and new, darkly conceived and daringly reimagined. In the much-anticipated third volume of the Wicked Years, we return to Oz, seen now through the eyes of the Cowardly Lion — the once tiny cub defended by Elphaba in Wicked,
While civil war looms in Oz, a tetchy oracle named Yackle prepares for death. Before her final hour, an enigmatic figure known as Brrr — the Cowardly Lion — arrives searching for information about Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West. As payment, Yackle, who hovered on the sidelines of Elphaba's life, demands some answers of her own.
Brrr surrenders his story to the ailing maunt: Abandoned as a cub, his earliest memories are gluey hazes, and his path from infancy in the Great Gillikin Forest is no Yellow Brick Road. Seeking to redress an early mistake, he trudges through a swamp of ghosts, becomes implicated in a massacre of trolls, and falls in love with a forbidding Cat princess. In the wake of laws that oppress talking Animals, he avoids a jail sentence by agreeing to serve as a lackey to the war-mongering Emperor of Oz.
A Lion Among Men chronicles a battle of wits hastened by the Emerald City's approaching armies. What does the Lion know of the whereabouts of the Witch's boy, Liir? What can Yackle reveal about the auguries of the Clock of the Time Dragon? And what of the Grimmerie, the magic book that vanished asquickly as Elphaba? Is destiny ever arbitrary? Can those tarnished by infamy escape their sobriquets — cowardly, wicked, brainless, criminally earnest — to claim their own histories, to live honorably within their own skins before they're skinned alive?
At once a portrait of a would-be survivor and a panoramic glimpse of a world gone shrill with war fever, Gregory Maguire's new novel is written with the sympathy and power that have made his books contemporary classics.
"The entertaining third installment of bestseller Maguire's Wicked Years series, a revisionist chronicle of L. Frank Baum's classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, examines the tragically misunderstood life of the Cowardly Lion before and after his adventures with Dorothy and company. As all-out war looms between the Munchkinland guerrillas and the emperor of Oz's Emerald City soldiers, Brrr the lion, now working as an imperial spy, must somehow glean invaluable information from a crone named Yackle before she dies. But during his interrogation of the irritable oracle, Brrr, the proverbial loner and outsider, uncovers insights into his own mysterious past — and finally begins to understand what it feels like to belong. As usual, the author mixes some relatively weighty existential themes — the search for self, faith, redemption — into his whimsical story line. Newcomers to Maguire's Oz should probably begin with Wicked, the first entry in this darkly enchanting saga. 11-city author tour. (Oct. 14)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Maguire...populates his version of Oz with a cast of utterly fantastical characters who must face their own inner demons while tumult and uncertainty rages around them. An absolute must-read for fans of this ever-evolving dark fairy tale." Booklist
"Adjectives and philosophy sprout from his sentences at every turn, though there are too many f-bombs for his writing to be described as flowery." Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram
"Maguire more than makes up for what the book may lack in riveting action with his signature skilled wordplay and profound philosophies on life. A rich reading experience and a worthy addition to the Oz saga. Recommended." Library Journal
In this third novel of the New York Times-bestselling series, civil war looms in Oz, and an ancient oracle named Yackle prepares for death. But before she can die, the Cowardly Lion arrives seeking knowledge about Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West — the woman who had defended him when he was a cub.
Return to a darker Oz with Gregory Maguire. In A Lion Among Men, the third volume in Maguires acclaimed, New York Times bestselling series The Wicked Years, a fuller, more complex Cowardly Lion is brought to life and gets to tell his remarkable tale. It is a story of oppression and fear in a world gone mad with war fever—of Munchkins, Wizards, and Wicked Witches—and especially of a gentle soul and determined survivor who is truly A Lion Among Men.
About the Author
Gregory Maguire is the bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Lost, Mirror Mirror, and the Wicked Years series, which includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men. Wicked, now a beloved classic, is the basis for the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical of the same name. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.
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