An ecological romance with a pulsing heart, equal parts Rider Haggard and Chico Buarque - one of the world's greatest and most beloved storytellers broadens her style and reach with a Amazonian adventure story which will appeal to all ages.
Fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold has the chance to take the trip of a lifetime. With his mother in hospital, too ill to look after him, Alex is sent out to his grandmother Kate; a fearless reporter with blue eyes as sharp as daggers' points'. Kate is about to embark on an expedition to the dangerous, remote world of the Amazon rainforest, but rather than change her plans, she simply takes Alex along with her. They set off with their team including a local guide and his daughter Nadia, with her wild, curly hair and skin the colour of honey, in search of a fabled headhunting tribe and a legendary, marauding creature known to locals as the Beast, only to find out much, much more about the mysteries of the jungle and its inhabitants.
In a novel rich in adventure, magic and spirit, internationally celebrated novelist Isabel Allende takes readers of all ages on a voyage of discovery and wonder, deep into the heart of the Amazon.
Alexander Cold is 15, and happy with his orderly life. As we learn in the first chapter, 'He had simple plans for the future. He planned to be a famous musician, have two children and live near the mountains.' But when his father arranges to take his mother to Texas for the cancer treatment that may save her life, Alex's life is thrown into turmoil. While his two sisters are sent to stay with their maternal grandmother, he is packed off to Grandma Kate, his father's mother, in New York. Kate is as unlike a stereotypical grandmother as it is possible to be. With short grey hair and blue eyes 'as sharp as daggers' points', she's an intrepid, award-winning reporter who is about to embark upon a dangerous expedition to the Amazon rainforest to try to track down a mythical and terrifying creature that preys on humans. Alex has no choice but to join her, and once they reach the remote depths of the forest his concerns about eating unfamiliar food or wearing dirty clothes become overshadowed by the possibility that he and Kate may be facing death. The threat to their lives is threefold: from their travelling companions, from a mysterious forest-dwelling tribe who can fade into the mist, seemingly at will, and from the Beast itself. Their hope of salvation is the common sense of their guide, Cesar Santos, and his beautiful daughter, Nadia, but after Alex and Nadia are kidnapped by the tribe, the children must fend for themselves in an unfamiliar world of magic and spirits. Allende's famed magic-realist style finds its full expression in this beautiful story that can be enjoyed on more than one level: as an adventure story for those of all ages, and as a powerful message about the plight of indigenous peoples in the rainforest. Her language is as vivid as ever, and if the emphasis is very much on magic rather than realism, it only adds to the overall charm. (Kirkus UK)
For Ages: 12+ years old
For Grades: 7 - 12
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: 24th May 2003
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 13.0 x 2.6
Weight (kg): 0.31