The Bestiary

Nicholas Christopher, Author . Dial $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-33736-6

In Christopher's magical fifth novel, a sympathetic history teacher takes an interest in quiet, studious Xeno Atlas, who has developed a burning interest in real and imaginary animals. “I first heard of the Caravan Bestiary when I was fifteen years old, and it changed the course of my life,” Xeno declares. The young man undertakes a quest to find the ancient manuscript, which describes animals left off Noah's Ark (including the “Catoblepas,” a white bird with divining powers) and was assumed lost many years ago. The search entails an around-the-world journey, wherein Xeno learns the answers to long-standing family mysteries, uncovers a wealth of lost knowledge and finds true love with his best friend's sister, the lovely Lena Moretti. Christopher (A Trip to the Stars ) also saddles his protagonist with a dead mother; a mysterious, perpetually grieving, peripatetic father; a shape-shifting shamanistic grandmother; and a lonely, troubled childhood. His evocative prose yields a narrative loaded with fascinating arcana and intriguing characters. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/21/2007
Release date: 06/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 207 pages - 978-0-440-33704-1
Paperback - 307 pages - 978-0-385-33737-3
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