Synopses & Reviews
Razo has no idea why he was chosen to be a soldier. He can barely swing a sword, and his brothers are forever wrestling him to the ground. Razo is sure it's out of pity that his captain asks him to join an elite mission--escorting the ambassador into Tira, Bayern's great enemy.
But when the Bayern arrive in the strange southern country, Razo discovers the first dead body. He befriends both the high and low born, people who can perhaps provide them with vital information. And Razo is the one who must embrace his own talents in order to get the Bayern soldiers home again, alive.
Newbery-Honor winner Shannon Hale returns the reader to the intrigue and magic of Bayern, first introduced in her critically acclaimed novel, The Goose Girl. Enter a world where even those with no special magical skills find in themselves something they never imagined.
"Razo, this winning novel's endearing protagonist, first brought to life as a minor character in Hale's The Goose Girl, here gets his own story. Now a confidante of Queen Isi, Razo was originally a simple forest boy whose major skill is using a slingshot to hunt squirrels. Short in stature and low in confidence, he is asked to join a mission of peace between his own kingdom of Bayern, and the enemy kingdom of Tira. Razo is then selected to become a spy because of his unassuming nature and powers of observation. He soon discovers that traitors in the Tiran army are trying to re-ignite the war, literally, by leaving charred remains of bodies an act they hope to pin on another envoy from Bayern Razo's friend Enna (from Enna Burning). This mystery unfolds along with charming friendships among Razo and his comrades, who lovingly tease him when he is the last to realize he has fallen in love with Dasha, the striking orange-haired daughter of the Tiran ambassador to Bayern, and has grown in height as well as self-assurance. This novel will be a special treat for readers of Hale's other two companion books, but it also stands on its own as a unique and tender coming-of-age story. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"No only is this book a reading treasure but this is a great book for affirming to teens that everyone has value and possesses many talents and qualities that can prove useful. Razo could be any undersized teen who needs reassurance and encouragement." Children's Literature
"Hale makes profound statements about war and peace, friends and strangers....Her language glimmers like firelight, like sunshine on water as she propels readers along a river of wonderful writing to the tumultuous and heart-tugging climax." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Shannons mother says she was a storyteller from birth, jabbering endlessly in her carriage as the two strolled through the neighborhood; once she could form complete sentences, she made up stories, bribing her younger siblings to perform them in mini plays. When she was ten, she began writing books, mostly fantasy stories where she was the heroine, and she continued writing secretly for years while pursuing acting in stage and improv comedy. After detours studying in Mexico, the U. K., and Paraguay, Shannon earned a bachelors degree in English from the University of Utah and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Montana. In the interim, she submitted short stories and novels to magazines and publishers, saving all her rejection letters which she has since laminated into one continuous 60-foot roll which she proudly unfurls to audiences as a testament to her dedication and determination.
Since the publication of her first book, The Goose Girl, in 2003, Shannon has become a beloved author to young readers as well as booksellers and educators. Her third novel, Princess Academy, earned her a Newbery Honor and is a The New York Times, Book Sense, and Publishers Weekly bestseller. Shannon has also written two books for adults, Austenland and The Actor and the Housewife. Shannon lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, Dean, their children, and their pet, a small plastic pig.