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."
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 as quickly 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.
“Engrossing...Maguire is a masterful storyteller with an uncanny flair for mixing political and personal while exploring what it meansand what it coststo be accepted in a society.” New York Daily News
“Maguires work is melodic, symphonic and beautiful; it is dejected and biting and brave. . . . In fabulous details and self-mocking language, Maguire displays his gift for whimsical portrayals of the broken, the powerless, the hopeless, the bad.” Los Angeles Times
“Entertaining....The author mixes some relatively weighty existential themesthe search for self, faith, redemptioninto his whimsical story line. [A] darkly enchanting saga” Publishers Weekly
“This Oz goes far beyond L. Frank Baums; its as surreal as a dream, but as immaculately and impeccably detailed as history. Maguires wizardlike grasp over every aspect of this reinvented land rivals classic literary landscapes like Tolkiens Middle Earth and Faulkners Yoknapatawpha County.” Albany Times Union
“As usual, Maguire, a seasoned fabulist, 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
“The third book in Maguires Wicked Years is at once funny, charming, harrowing, bleak and incredibly beautiful.” The American Chronicle
“Much to savor, laugh at, and think about. . . . A page-turning fantasy and a timely political allegory.” USA Today
A New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Denver Post, and USA Today bestseller No Source
“So well-crafted that readers of all ages could enjoy witnessing Brrrrs transformation from an insecure kitten in the woods to a compassionate, engaged ‘manimal.” Christian Science Monitor
“The minute you open A Lion Among Men, youre back in Maguires exquisitely detailed environment, caught up once again in his geography, his characters, his worldview, touched anew by the loneliness that lurks in the heart of all things.” New Orleans Times-Picayune
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 author of several best-selling adult novels, including Wicked, which was turned into a Broadway musical. His books for younger readers include the picture book Crabby Cratchitt, the novel The Good Liar, and the popular Hamlet Chronicles series. While writing Leaping Beauty, Mr. Maguire sadly became allergic to all creatures great and small. Now he lives in a house without pets, though he is the father of three happy, noisy small children to whom, at this writing, he has not yet developed allergies.