Synopses & Reviews
It's magic! The great American storyteller Lloyd Alexander conjures an engrossing tale of a bewitching magician. Lidi is not only beautiful -- she has the talent to perform the greatest magic feat imaginable -- the rope trick. But she must find the one master who can teach her how.
On her quest to find master magician Ferramondo, she meets some traveling companions who all help on the journey: a child with true supernatural powers, a handsome outlaw with a price on his head, a successful entrepreneur who wants her in his troupe. But when the child is kidnapped, Lidi must abandon the search and summon her own powers to save the girl. The thrilling conclusion is Alexander at the top of his form in a remarkable fantasy that is both light and dark, funny and serious, believable and mystical. As always with an Alexander novel, the real magician is the storyteller himself.
"The undercurrent of melancholy running beneath (and occasionally bursting to the surface of) this fanciful tale makes it as memorable as Alexander's previous Chronicles of Prydain and Westmark trilogy. After the death of her bitter and unkind father, Lidi continues on with the family trade, roaming the towns of Campania (a fictional land resembling pre-unification Italy) performing magic tricks and sleight-of-hand. The author once again proves his gift for summing up a situation in a few potent phrases. For instance, when Lidi first began to outperform her father, he tried to hit her and tell her she's 'best at nothing'; the narrative follows with, 'She could dodge the blows but not the words.' Lidi and her loyal canvasmaster, Jericho, are joined by Daniella, an orphan with a knack for predicting the future, and Julian, a handsome rebel with a price on his head. As her troupe travels, Lidi pursues her dream of learning the rope trick the most legendary trick of all from Ferramondo, an enigmatic magician who is described differently by each person who has met him. Meanwhile, as a delicately etched romance takes shape between Lidi and Julian, sinister forces conspire to thwart the happiness of the stalwart performers. Alexander deftly entwines many strands bitter, funny and sweet. Even as the outsize characterizations and rollicking adventure amuse, the compassionate vision of life's possibilities is likely to bring a lump to the throat. Ages 8-12." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"It is no illusion that this is a magical read." (Kirkus ReviewsM), starred review
Lidi is a brilliant magician, able to perform all manner of astonishing illusions. But one trick eludes her, the greatest in the world: the rope trick. And only one person can teach it to her: the legendary magician Ferramondo. On her quest to find him, she joins up with Daniella, an orphan with true prophetic powers; a handsome outlaw with a price on his head; and a circus owner with a troupe of dancing pigs. But when Daniella is kidnapped by men who want to use her gift for their own ends, Lidi must abandon her quest and summon all of her resources&150and magic-working&150to save herself.
The great American storyteller Alexander conjures up an engrossing tale of a bewitching magician. Lidi is not only beautiful, she can perform the greatest magic feat imaginable--the rope trick.