Synopses & Reviews
An exciting, romantic novel set against the feverish backdrop of the French Revolution.
Clever and head-turningly attractive, fourteen-yearold Yann is an orphan who has been raised in Paris by Têtu, a dwarf with secrets he has yet to reveal to the gypsy boy. Its the winter of 1789, and the duo have been working for a vain magician named Topolain. On the night when Topolains vanity brings his own death, Yanns life truly begins. Thats the night he meets shy Sido, an heiress with an ice-cold father, a young girl who has only known loneliness until now. Though they have the shortest of conversations, an attachment is born that will influence both their paths.
And what paths those will be! Revolution is afoot in France, and Sido is being used as a pawn. Only Yann will dare to rescue her, and hell be up against a fearful villain who goes by the name Count Kalliovski, but who has often been called the devil. Itll take all of Yanns newly discovered talent to unravel the mysteries of his past and Sidos and to fight the devilish count.
As in the award-winning I, Coriander, Sally Gardner has masterfully combined the historical and the fantastical in this sumptuous, riveting adventure.
"Set during the French Revolution, Gardner's (I, Coriander) epic and tautly plotted tale engages readers from the start with its combination of romance and history, mystery and magic. Yann Magoza, an orphan, travels with entertainers who use supernatural powers in their act; Yann himself can read minds. As the novel opens, Yann and his companions are brought to a marquis's chateau, where Yann has a brief but fateful meeting with the foolish and cruel marquis's brave daughter, Sidonie, and where the marquis's associate, a scheming count, brutally but cleverly murders one of the magicians. The pace retains this thrilling momentum all the way through the heart-stopping climax. As Gardner slowly discloses Yann's and Sido's heritages, she ratchets up tension about the marquis's and the count's plans for Sido. She lards her story with intriguing details, like the red garnet necklaces left like signatures with a series of murder victims, and 'threads of light' that make Yann's magic possible. The novel also paints vivid, convincing pictures of the Revolution: characters glimpse the massed thousands of Parisian women marching to Versailles, pitchforks in hand, demanding bread, and mobs setting upon suspected aristocrats. Suspenseful, complex and haunting. Ages 12 up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Loving Ben -- Delacorte Press 1988 (no paperback edition in the US)
Published as Red Sky in the Morning in UK
Reviews include: starred review in School Library Journal Sept 1989
A best book of the year, American Library Association
Kirkus pointed review October 1989
Times Educational Supplement (London) "It is quite simply a wonderfully moving story about the power of love"
Highly Commended for the Carnegie Medal
Kiss the Dust -- Dutton Children's Books 1992
Paperback Puffin 1994
Starred review Publishers Weekly
NCSS-CBC Notable 1992 Children's Trade Book in the field of Social Studies
1993 YALSA Best Books for Young Adults
Nominated Utah Young Adults Book Award 1995
Winner of the Sheffield Book Award
Winner of the Royal Dutch Geographical Society Glass Globe Award
Secret Friends -- Penguin Putnam USA 1998
Winner of The Children's Book Award (UK)
Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal
Jake's Tower -- Barrons Juveniles 2002
Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Book Award
The Garbage King -- Barrons Juveniles 2003
Winner of the Scottish Arts Council Children's Book of the Year award and the Stockport Book award.
Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, the Blue Peter Award, the Salford Children's Book Award, the Calderdale Children's Book Award, the Lincolnshire Young People's Book Award, the Stockton Children's Book of the Year, the West Sussex Children's Book Award, the Portsmouth Book Award and the Sheffield Children's Book Award.
A Little Piece of Ground -- Haymarket Books 2006
Winner of the Hampshire Book Award
Shortlisted for the Southern Schools Book Award
Oranges in No Man's Land -- Haymarket Books, 2008
Winner of the KS2 Hull Children's Book Award.
Shortlisted for the Sheffield Children's Book Award, the North East Book Award, the Rotherham Children's Book Award, the West Sussex Children's Book Award and the Canadian Surrey Schools Book Award.
From the author of the award-winning "I, Coriander" comes an exciting, romantic novel set against the feverish backdrop of the French Revolution.
In seventeenth-century Scotland, saying the wrong thing can lead to banishmentor worse. Accused of being a witch, sixteen-year-old Maggie Blair is sentenced to be hanged. She escapes, but instead of finding shelter with her principled, patriotic uncle, she brings disaster to his door.
Betrayed by one of her own accusers, Maggie must try to save her uncle and his family from the kings men, even if she has to risk her own life in the process. Originally published in the UK, this book has a powerful blend of heart-stopping action and thought-provoking themes.
A mysterious gypsy boy, Yann Margoza, and his guardian, a dwarf, work for the magician Topolain in 1789. On the night of Topolain's death, Yann's life truly begins. That's when he meets Sido, an heiress with a horrible father. An attachment is born that will determine both their paths. Revolution is afoot in France, and Sido is being used as a pawn. Only Yann will dare to rescue her from a fearful villain named Count Kalliovski. It will take all of Yann's newly discovered talent to unravel the mysteries of Sido's past and his own and to fight the devilish count.
About the Author
Elizabeth Laird has been nominated five times for the Carnegie Medal and has won numerous awards, including the Childrens Book Award. She and her husband divide their time between London and Edinburgh.
1. What do you like best about incorporating history into your books?
I think history is a good way of looking at our present times; it puts things into context. I also like the fact that you can't clean up history -- it stand as it is, and unlike fantasy, you really don't need to make half of it up. It all happened and then some.
2. Your background is in art. What made you decide to get into writing?
I think I was born telling myself stories: I escaped my childhood through the stories I told myself. The one thing that my very expensive education had been keen to teach me at every stage of my youth was that I couldn't be a writer. Instead I went to Art College and studied to be a theater designer, for after all theater is where story is king. Then I went into illustration where story is also king, and finally found I had the courage and support to realize that my teachers were wrong. I can write, I just can't spell.
3. What were some of your favorite books growing up?
I didn't read until worryingly late (14), so I was a bit of a write-off where it came to books from childhood, apart from WIND IN THE WILLOWS, which was read to me. When I finally got to read, I read Dickens, the Brontes, and Jane Austen. Later on I discovered Hemingway, whom I adored, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, whom I was told was dreadful at spelling. THE GREAT GATSBY is an all-time fave.
4. Any advice for aspiring writers?
Story story story! There is nothing, apart from characters, that is more important. Be brave -- never let anyone tell you that you can't do it. Find your voice and enjoy the journey; there is nothing better in all the world than telling a rattling good tale. It can even keep tomorrow at bay.
5. What are you working on now?
The new book is going to be called THE SILVER BLADE and is a sequel to THE RED NECKLACE. It is set in the time of the Terror and is the conclusion to the love story between Sido and Yann. I hope it will be a gripping adventure and a heartrending love story.