Susan Fletcher is the acclaimed author of Journey of the Pale Bear; as well as the Dragon Chronicles, composed of Dragon's Milk, Flight of the Dragon Kyn, Sign of the Dove, and Ancient, Strange, and Lovely; and the award-winning Alphabet of Dreams, Shadow Spinner, Walk Across the Sea, and Falcon in the Glass. Ms. Fletcher lives in Bryan, Texas. Visit her at Susan Fletcher.com.
The accent in Simhan's sinuous, supple voice is difficult to place. Burnished with the dulcet tones of the Queen's English, Simhan also bears a faint trace of foreignness, of mysterious otherness. Her clipped, elegant reading of Fletcher's fantasy tale set in ancient Persia is enhanced by this undertone of other climes. A pair of siblings, royal by birth but impoverished, discover they have the gift of reading the dreams of others, and seek to return to their rightful place with this gift's help. Simhan's performance is invested with careful diction and an occasional touch of theatrical emoting. She does a solid job of keeping this lengthy audiobook flowing, thanks to a colorful palette of voices, inflections and meaningful pauses. While there are moments that drag, Simhan keeps them to a minimum. She gets into the spirit of this Arabian Nights-esque fantasy with aplomb. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Gr 7 Up-Mitra and her younger brother, Babak, are refugees in ancient Persia, living in a labyrinth of caves, scraping by with the food they can steal in the nearby marketplace. Disguised as a boy for safety and mobility, Mitra dreams of returning to her former life of opulence before her father's plot against a despotic king scattered the family. When it is discovered that Babak possesses the ability of prophetic dreaming, he comes to the attention of a local magus, Melchior, who takes the children under his protection as he travels westward, following signs in the stars. Joined by two more scholars, each with his own gifts, the caravan continues on a harrowing journey that leads them into the Roman territories, and eventually to the tiny village of Bethlehem. While the focus is always on Mitra, readers experience a growing awareness of who these three wise men actually are and what portentous events Babak is dreaming for them. Fletcher explains in detailed author's notes her long-standing fascination with the story of the Magi and provides insight into the research process. A fine weaver of historical fiction, she creates a fully realized world for her characters and builds a plot full of suspense and anguish. Mitra and Babak's plight is that of any children caught between warring factions. Their journey is one of seeking a place of safety to call home, and, for Mitra, it is a coming-of-age quest that leaves her changed forever.-Connie C. Rockman, Stratford Library Association, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.