Avi (The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle) flexes his creative muscles again, this time with a book that ""fits in the `fun' category,"" as he comments in a publicity letter. Featuring endearing creatures called Montmers--a combination of jackrabbit, prairie dog and human--this fantasy/adventure also offers a sharp satire on political greed. Mild-mannered Perloo enjoys a quiet life in the Rock Mountains, reading Montmer history and mythology, until his tribe's dying ""granter"" or leader, Jolaine, names him her successor. But before he even has a chance to accept the honor, he is ousted by Jolaine's scheming son, Berwig, who is eager to declare war against the neighboring Felbarts (they are half-coyote, half-human). Perloo flees for his life, ends up with the Felbarts, negotiates with their leader and single-handedly prevents Berwig's advancing troops from attacking. While keeping bloodshed and violence to a minimum, Avi produces an exciting, suspenseful and witty tale of conspiracy and warfare strategy, pitting Perloo's knowledge and high morality against Berwig's lust for glory. Perloo retains his position as granter just long enough to relinquish it and award the Montmers complete freedom to rule themselves. Formation of a new Montmer government should provide plenty of material for a sequel. Ages 10-up. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1998 Release date: 11/01/1998 Genre: Children's
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