Bloodline Rising by Katy Moran

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Bloodline Rising by Katy Moran

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Beautifully-realised second book in the Bloodline series. 7th century life is vividly described and the supernatural elements are kept subtle. Highly, highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: March 2009
Publisher: Walker Books
ISBN: 1406310239

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They call Cai the ghost - he's the fastest, most cunning thief in all Constantinople. He can pass by unnoticed, and if he looks into your eyes, he can draw your deepest secrets from you. Cai has his eye on becoming the city's Emperor of Thieves some day, and he is doing his best to forget a very private grief and a father rumoured to be a traitor. But it's not to be. Captured, bound and sent to the slavers, Cai eventually finds himself in Britain - his father's country. And there, he discovers more about himself and his parents than he had ever thought possible...

Bloodline Rising follows this family of Dark Age Britons into another generation. The first told the story of Essa, a boy who could take animal form in visions. Cai is his son and his abilities are very different, but the spirituality is the same. Back in Britain and separated from his father, Cai becomes immersed in the politics of the time. Christianity is taking hold and the kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia play a cat-and-mouse game for power. Both 7th century Britain and Constantinople rise vividly for the reader through Moran's prose, which has great strength and power but is never too dense.

It's difficult to write accurately about history - especially a period with sparse sources such as this one - but also to create charismatic yet non-achronistic characters and maintain pace in the narrative, but Moran does it with ease. Cai's struggles in his relationships with others, his insecurities and resentments, are immediately recognisable to any reader, and are tremendously sympathetic, but he never appears out of time or place. This is probably down to the supernatural element, which is subtle, but roots Cai deeply into a time when nature was still a real religious force and a metaphor for the cycle of life.

It's exciting, interesting, rich, and absolutely, thoroughly satisfying, and comes highly recommended by Bookbag.

My thanks to the nice people at Walker for sending the book.

They might also enjoy Warrior King by Sue Purkiss about Alfred the Great or Viking Girl by Pauline Chandler, or for an earlier British story with a supernatural element, the popular Star Dancer by Beth Webb will satisy nicely.

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