Cynthia Voigt won the Newbery Medal for Dicey's Song, the Newbery Honor Award for A Solitary Blue, and the National Book Award Honor for Homecoming, all part of the beloved Tillerman cycle. She is also the author of many other celebrated books for middle grade and teen readers, including Izzy, Willy-Nilly and Jackaroo. She was awarded the Margaret A. Edwards Award in 1995 for her work in literature, and the Katahdin Award in 2004. She lives in Maine.
In a starred review, PW called this final volume in Voigt's Kingdom cycle "thrilling, from its dramatic opener to its stunning climax." Ages 12-up. (July) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 9 Up-Voigt returns to the Kingdom (eventually) in Elske, a loosely related companion to Jackaroo (Atheneum, 1985), The Wings of a Falcon (Scholastic, 1993), and On Fortune's Wheel (Atheneum, 1990). Raised within the warrior society of the Wolfers, Elske flees her native land to avoid certain death. She finds her destiny as the servant to Beriel, the banished heir apparent of the Kingdom. As the two make their way to confront the uncrowned queen's treacherous brother Guerric, they must rely on Beriel's force of will as well as on Elske's devotion and resourcefulness. Once again, this talented author offers readers a richly dense, compelling tale set in a strange and far-off land. Violence and cruelty loom large, as do trust and honor, loyalty and love. The writing is at times breathtaking in its brusque assumption that young people are ready to contemplate the horrors of battle and the realities of rape and infanticide. Yet Voigt's descriptions of violence done and imagined are never graphic or sensationalized. And there is, of course, much more to the story. The language is stately and evocative, well suited to the complex plot and unusual setting. Characterization is richly detailed, with human flaws and foibles clearly drawn. Readers are plunged quickly into the drama but, overall, the pace is almost leisurely. Familiarity with the earlier novels is not necessary and it seems likely that those encountering the Kingdom for the first time in Elske will seek out the previous titles as well.-Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.