Molly's Reviews

Jeff Stone
Random House
Fast Paced Read ... Recommended … 4 starsa

The narrative opens in Henan Province where the reader finds twelve year old Fu, Tiger, mumbling from the bottom of a terra-cotta barrel. Lying on top of him are his temple brothers Malao, She, Hok and Long. It is China in the year of the Tiger, 1650 AD. The five orphans raised from infancy in the secret temple have been hidden by the Grandmaster. The temple is their home; the warrior monks are their family. Enemy horses are racing up and down, weapons clash. Screams fill the air as warrior monks are toppled. Leading the attack carried out by the emperor’s army is sixteen year old Ying, the Eagle, the renegade brother who earlier learned his own fighting skill along side the five youngsters. Ying is determined to destroy the Cangzhen Monastery, murder the Grandmaster and steal the sacred scrolls. Cangzhen temple is reduced to a fiery ruin, stolen library scrolls are retrieved and, Fu receives an offer to join Ying. A terrifying new weapon, a tiger pit, a motherless tiger cub, a garbage heap all figure in the narrative. Fu whose fighting style is patterned after the Tiger for whom he is named is captured and kept in a cart before he is freed in an unexpected manner. Fu and his brothers are the only survivors of the attack. When the five brothers arereunited each has a story to tell and they realize their bond is as strong as it might be if they were actually brothers by birth.

Adopted in infancy, writer Stone draws upon his understanding of martial arts and his awareness for the yearning an adopted child may harbor for knowing of his birth parents to craft an engaging look into an ancient account. The narrative of five warrior monks who managed to elude the seventeenth century devastation of China’s renowned Shaolin Temple is told through the words and actions of five young boys each of whom is named for an animal whose fighting skill they emulate.

"Tiger" is the first in ‘The Ancestors’ series wherein five young warrior monks will learn to deal with the calamity of losing the only home and family they have known coupled with their search into their hidden pasts. Tiger is not for the finicky. Ying is a fear-inspiring scoundrel; fierce battles are depicted in in tensedetail in this narrative filled with savagery, conspiracy, artifice and intrigue. Well fleshed characters are portrayed in kid pleasing fashion in this fast paced adventure. Fu’s impetuous ‘act before thinking’ nature is something with which youngsters in the target audience of upper middle grades into high school can readily identify. Tart dialogue between the various players is believable plus it serves to move the tale along at asteady clip.

Forceful motivations, story line twists, perplexity all flow from the pen of writer Stone in this fast paced debut anecdote of treachery, betrayal and intrigue.

Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend for the home pleasure library, the classroom book shelf and the homeschool venue. Tiger will no doubt draw boys especially toward the series.




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© 2005 by Molly Martin