Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier

Ying Chang Compestine and Vinson Compestine. Abrams/Amulet, $16.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0540-3
Compestine (Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party) teams up with her son Vinson in this riveting work of supernatural historical fiction set in 1970s Maoist China. As a result of Chairman Mao's attacks on intellectuals, 13-year-old Ming and his professor father are forced to move from the city to a small farming village outside of Xi'an, where his only hope of making a living is to persuade the government to open an archeological office to house local artifacts. When a terra-cotta soldier (one of 8,000 modeled after honored soldiers) named Shi is unearthed, it comes to life and leads Ming into Emperor Qin Shi Huang's 2,000-year-old mausoleum. Shi tells Ming stories about fighting the Mongols at the Great Wall at age 14; meanwhile, a greedy and scheming political officer is hot on their trail. The authors' attentiveness to Chinese cuisine, culture, and landscape creates a rich backdrop for a story about the ethics and brutal realities of war. An array of fascinating historical art and photographs enhance the narrative; recipes and historical background are also included. Ages 10–12. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/27/2014
Release date: 01/01/2014
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