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  • Absorbing action + depth for high-powered readers

    This adventure of the youngest child in a Scottish war band is exciting and believeable without being too violent for middle grade. Much appreciated! The heroine, Drest, has a wonderful set of medieval skills--learned from her grown-up brothers--and puts them all to creative use to protect the weak. The friendship between the three main characters is delightful! Drest's captive Emmerick is a frenemy and the resourceful Tig and his magical crow are eager to jump into the action too. The opening scene kicks off with a betrayal that shocks the loyal and truthful Drest. While all the action is whizzing by, a deeper theme of truth, lying, and hearsay gets explored from all different angles. What difference does it make to have a good or bad reputation? To be a legend in your own time? How do you decide what to believe about other people? Who do you trust? Thought-provoking but still accessible for ages 9+. Deep characterization, well-researched (and executed!) medieval everyday life, fun dialogue, lots of twists and a larger than life youngest daughter make this a rich and absorbing read! I enjoyed how much mercy and forbearance characters showed to each other while trying to figure out the truth of a situation. Relevant to our time. Well worth reading. A smooth read that goes down easy, but especially good for high-level readers who want to know about life long ago and to think about what they would do when faced with big challenges.

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