Banished from his tribe, twelve-year-old Dominique’s quest continues as he reaches the great port city of Carnillo. Civil strife and rumours of imminent invasion bring suspicion upon all who walk the streets. Arrested and imprisoned, Dominique receives help from an unexpected ally and is drawn into a confusing conspiracy of constantly shifting alliances. As he attempts to unravel the truth behind the strange web of conflicting stories about his father, Dominique learns there is a greater challenge before him.
Grade 4-6–This story picks up where The Cave of Departure (Sono Nis, 2001) left off. Twelve-year-old Dominique, banished from his tribe of storytellers, is traveling with Amana to the city of Carnillo. He does not fully trust her and does not reveal the true goal of his journey-to find his father. Although still a child, Amana is the First Born Storyteller of the Carnillians and may hold some influence over Lord Emberto, the town’s paranoid dictator. Unfortunately, Amana, the only interesting character in the book, all but disappears shortly after they arrive in the city. Dominique is immediately arrested for being a spy and imprisoned with dozens of other falsely accused men. Within a day, he joins a band of prisoners opposed to Emberto and they escape. The implausible plot nearly grinds to a halt here when Dominique spends the next few days cooking, cleaning, and quilting with the rebels who are hiding him, never telling them of his search for his father. In the final few pages, the citizens inexplicably revolt and the boy joins their battle. Dominique is a weak unfocused protagonist who is blindly pushed through an unfulfilled story line by the awkward supporting cast.
Karen T. Bilton, Somerset County Library, Bridgewater, NJ
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