20 February 2010

Angel Fish

by Lili Wilkinson

black dog books. Australian, Young Adult. Paperback rrp $18.99

Set against a background of the 13th century Children’s Crusade, Angel Fish is a timeless story of faith and hope. But what we believe in and where it takes us is never as simple as it first seems.

When Stephan arrives in Machery preaching that children can save the Holy Land from the Saracen, young Gabriel is immediately drawn to both Stephan and the cause. Gabriel has no place in his village where he is seen as different but with Stephan he becomes the Angel Fish – the alpha symbol of Christianity – the beginning.

As they journey from the Alps to the Mediterranean, more children join the group. They implicitly believe everything the charismatic Stephan promises. Including that when they reach the ocean God will part the waters for Stephan and his followers to cross.

But the journey brings many challenges and misfortunes. Even threats and death. Stephan begins to change under the influence of power and the increasing adoration of his followers. Gabriel finds other children soon place themselves between him and his beloved Stephan. Their close friendship is dissolving. Gabriel must question not only how much he is willing to sacrifice for his faith but that very faith itself.

Tragedy is never far away. But neither is hope. This is a book for everyone who wants to believe in something. Or wants to read a fascinating piece of historical fiction.

No comments:

Post a Comment