The blue jays and cardinals of Stone-Run Forest have turned against each other. According to legend, only Swordbird, son of the Great Spirit, has the power to conquer evil and restore peace to the land. But is he real or just a myth? Can Swordbird arrive in time to save the forest . . . or will it be too late?
Twelve-year-old author Nancy Yi Fan has woven a captivating tale about the birds of Stone-Run Forest and the heroism, courage, and resourcefulness in their quest for peace.
Yi Fan's tightly woven story delivers a manifest message promoting peace and freedom. Starring woodland bird characters, the saga pits the tyrannical hawk Turnatt, captor of "slavebirds" whom he shackles and puts to work building his fortress, against the cardinals and blue jays. Though once friendly, these two benign flocks are now at war: Turnatt's soldiers have stolen eggs and food from each flock (the hawk eats a purloined egg daily, believing this will "keep death away"), and have led each camp to believe the other is responsible for the thefts. One of the slavebirds, a robin named Miltin, escapes to tell Aska, a brave young jay, about Turnatt's evil doings and his plan to enslave all the local woodbirds. Blue jays and cardinals join forces to vanquish the despot, a mission that entails several diverting twists, including a search for the necessary elements to summon the Swordbird, the "mystical white bird, the son of the Great Spirit." The author occasionally relieves the tale's ample tension with snippets of humor. While feasting with a traveling troupe of winged thespians, for instance, the cardinals and blue jays drive away Turnatt's marauding forces by bombarding them with bean soup and raspberry pies. Experienced readers will recognize the familiar allegory here, but the book will likely appeal to Redwall fans, and this young writer is worth watching. Ages 8-12.