January 7, 2007

The Five Ancestors - by Jeff Stone

Imagine that you are a warrior monk in 17th century China, and your monastery has just been attacked by a sixteen-year old former brother of yours and his army. As you and your remaining four brothers escape with your lives, you realize that nothing will ever be the same again. Thus begins one of the most exciting series I've come across in some time, the Five Ancestors by Jeff Stone. The first book is Tiger, named after one of the five brothers who were the youngest warrior monks ever to have been trained in China. There are many special things about these boys, ranging from 11 to 13 years old, one of which being that each of them has a strange connection with a certain animal, and each has been trained by their Grandmaster in a special style of kung fu, very similar to the way that animal would fight.

Each book focuses on one of the brothers, telling the same story through the eyes of a different person, and each pushes the plot a little farther forward. After only two books in the projected 7-book series, I can already see where it's going, though I have no clue how it will end. These books build on one another to create an elaborate, breathtaking story, but are still full of unexpected twists and turns. This is a fascinating series, both for the historical content and for the excellent portrayals of the characters and kung fu fighting. It's obvious that author Jeff Stone not only practices kung fu himself, but that he knows a lot about Chinese history, and that he's a wonderful writer.

This series will appeal to readers who enjoy realistic fiction, learning about things they probably know little about, and lots of action and suspense. Many Chinese words make reading a bit difficult, especially without a pronunciation key, but this doesn't stand in the way of enjoying and understanding the stories.


Ms. Yingling said...

Librarians should get multiple copies of the first title. This appeals to so many readers-- those who like action and adventure, those who like history, those who like martial arts. It's been wildly popular!

Ms. Yingling said...

Librarians should buy multiple copies of the first title. The whole series has been very popular in my library!