Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Buried Fire (review)

Jonathan Stroud. Buried Fire. New York: Hyperion Books, 2004. 332pp. Grades 6th-Up.

Are you ready to lose yourself in a book that will have you reading all day long? This book, by the author of The Amulet of Samarkand, is ready to please. From the very first sentence we are entranced. “Under the old king’s barrow, in a hollow place hidden from the winter mists and the summer sun, a dragon coils.” Directly above this hallowed spot Michael is presently napping. While he naps the local Vicar is directing workers digging outside St. Wyndham church to stabilize its foundation. As workers strike a hard surface, the dragon stirs and a small bubble begins to rise from his lair. This bubble incases Michael on its exit from the hill and bestows magical powers to him as he slumbers. Meanwhile the workers uncover an ancient Celtic like cross from the trench below the church. Are you hooked yet? This fast-paced plot keeps moving by mini cliffhangers at the end of chapters and perilous large ones at the end of days. All the events take four days to occur. A stripped down version was read for this review. One can only hope the final copy will include illustrations and a map of the Wirrim area.

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