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The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation
By

Rating
This is a fascinating portrait of betrayal - part gothic tale, part historical fiction - set against the backdrop of tragedy, slavery and war.In the second volume of "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing", Octavian and Doctor Trefusis escape to Virginia where Octavian joins up with Lord Dunmore's troops, following the famous proclamation promising to liberate any slave that will fight for the British in the Revolutionary war. While there, Octavian reunites with Bono, fights in vicious battles, and falls desperately in love.
Product Details

About the Author

M. T. Anderson worked as a DJ, a music reviewer, and at a children's book publisher before becoming a full-time writer. He is the author of several critically acclaimed young adult novels including Burger Wuss, Thirsty and Feed, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He teaches creative writing at university level and lives in Massachusetts, USA.

Reviews

Gr 9 Up-Octavian Nothing's astonishing story, begun in M. T. Anderson's The Pox Party (2006), winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, continues in The Kingdom of the Waves (2008, both Candlewick). With references to the action in the first volume, the story flows smoothly into this new aspect of the American Revolution. Octavian escapes to Boston and joins the Royal Ethiopian Regiment with the promise of attaining his freedom. This first-person account is written from Octavian's perspective in 18th-century prose. The language and Octavian's philosophic meaderings may be challenging to some listeners. With themes of oppression, slavery, freedom, and identity, the experiences and horrors of war are realistically presented. Peter Francis James does an admirable job of bringing Octavian to life; the other characters are not uniquely voiced. In the author's note at the conclusion, Anderson restates his own views concerning liberty and provides significant historical background. A powerful story.-Anita Lawson, Otsego High School, MI Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

A sweeping and epic novel...will someday be recognized as a novel of the first rank, the kind of monumental work Italo Calvino called 'encyclopedic' in the way it sweeps up history into a comprehensive and deeply textured pattern. --New York Times Book Review With an eye trained to the hypocrisies and conflicted loyalties of the American Revolution, Anderson resoundingly concludes the finely nuanced bildungsroman begun in his National Book Award-winning novel. --Publishers Weekly (starred review) Fascinating historical fiction...a thoughtful and timeless examination of the nature of humanity. --School Library Journal (starred review) Awe-inspiring...Even more present in this volume are passionate questions, directly relevant to teens' lives, about basic human struggles for independence, identity, freedom, love, and the need to reconcile the past. --Booklist (starred review) Epic quality. --The Horn Book (starred review) One of the few volumes to fully comprehend the paradoxes of the struggle for liberty in America. --Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Characters are lively and engaging with diverse personalities...a riveting book...Highly recommended. --Library Media Connection, starred review Octavian's introspection born of a philosopher's upbringing adds depth to the tale...a fast-moving plot...a satisfying finality to the story. --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review) Places Octavian at the heart of...harrowing historical episodes underscoring the bleakness of a tale that is ultimately about the melancholy predicament of a brilliantly educated and appealing young black man in a world that has no place for him. --Wall Street Journal This deeply moving re-imagining of a little-known episode in American history should be required reading not only for high school students of the American Revolution, but, I would argue, for anyone who wants to see just what brilliance is possible in so-called children's books. --Bookpage It's probably the best young-adult novel in American history, top 10 for sure. --TIME Magazine A singular achievement, a work of historical fiction that feels truly original and seems destined to endure. --San Francisco Chronicle Open-ended, deliberately unclear about what happens next...the young man now seems to look within himself for the strength to live the rest of his life rather than looking toward one political side or the other. Readers end the stories awed by the overwhelming nature of the obstacles the characters face and by their persistent strength as survivors. --Chicago Tribune Anderson's powerful and unforgettable novel is a vital contribution to the ongoing national conversation on the subject [slavery] and its effects on into the present day. --Los Angeles Times The riveting saga... poses questions about our nation's hard-won liberty that are as illuminating as they are disturbing. --St. Louis Post-Dispatch The story continues to be a gripping one, unusual in offering a lens through which to see the Revolutionary War different from that to which Americans have been exposed -- the views of a black man sympathetic, for the most part, to the king...It's a truly courageous undertaking, ambitious in its scope in ways unparalleled by any other author working in this genre. --Houston Chronicle Surpasses long-awaited expectations...a remarkable conclusion to an unforgettable story. --The Midwest Book Review One of the best-written - and most challenging - young adult books I've ever read. --The Millions blog A sweeping and epic noveli1/2will someday be recognized as a novel of the first rank, the kind of monumental work Italo Calvino called i1/2encyclopedic' in the way it sweeps up history into a comprehensive and deeply textured pattern. --New York Times Book Review With an eye trained to the hypocrisies and conflicted loyalties of the American Revolution, Anderson resoundingly concludes the finely nuanced bildungsroman begun in his National Book Awardi1/2winning novel. --Publishers Weekly (starred review) Fascinating historical fictioni1/2a thoughtful and timeless examination of the nature of humanity. --School Library Journal (starred review) Awe-inspiring...Even more present in this volume are passionate questions, directly relevant to teens' lives, about basic human struggles for independence, identity, freedom, love, and the need to reconcile the past. --Booklist (starred review) Epic quality. --The Horn Book (starred review) One of the few volumes to fully comprehend the paradoxes of the struggle for liberty in America. --Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Characters are lively and engaging with diverse personalitiesi1/2a riveting book...Highly recommended. --Library Media Connection, starred review Octavian's introspection born of a philosopher's upbringing adds depth to the talei1/2a fast-moving ploti1/2a satisfying finality to the story. --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review) Places Octavian at the heart ofi1/2harrowing historical episodes underscoring the bleakness of a tale that is ultimately about the melancholy predicament of a brilliantly educated and appealing young black man in a world that has no place for him. --Wall Street Journal This deeply moving re-imagining of a little-known episode in American history should be required reading not only for high school students of the American Revolution, but, I would argue, for anyone who wants to see just what brilliance is possible in so-called children's books. --Bookpage It's probably the best young-adult novel in American history, top 10 for sure. --TIME Magazine A singular achievement, a work of historical fiction that feels truly original and seems destined to endure. --San Francisco Chronicle Open-ended, deliberately unclear about what happens nexti1/2the young man now seems to look within himself for the strength to live the rest of his life rather than looking toward one political side or the other. Readers end the stories awed by the overwhelming nature of the obstacles the characters face and by their persistent strength as survivors. --Chicago Tribune Anderson's powerful and unforgettable novel is a vital contribution to the ongoing national conversation on the subject [slavery] and its effects on into the present day. --Los Angeles Times The riveting sagai1/2 poses questions about our nation's hard-won liberty that are as illuminating as they are disturbing. --St. Louis Post-Dispatch The story continues to be a gripping one, unusual in offering a lens through which to see the Revolutionary War different from that to which Americans have been exposed i1/2 the views of a black man sympathetic, for the most part, to the kingi1/2It's a truly courageous undertaking, ambitious in its scope in ways unparalleled by any other author working in this genre. --Houston Chronicle Surpasses long-awaited expectationsi1/2a remarkable conclusion to an unforgettable story. --The Midwest Book Review One of the best-written - and most challenging - young adult books I've ever read. --The Millions blog

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