Skip to Main Content

About The Book

Two tantalizing tales, magically intertwined, cross cultures and span centuries as three kids set out to save the lives of three others—who just happen to live in the Middle Ages!

A stone lion roars...
A sleek black cat speaks...
A faun leaps from the canvas of a painting...

When Jared, Shireen, and Miranda are each given one glittering gift from an old Venetian shopkeeper, they never fathom the powers they are now able to unleash; they never expect that their very reality is about to be utterly upended. And the adventure has hardly begun.

For in another time, centuries earlier, another trio—Rashid, Maria, and Francesca—have been thrown together under terrible circumstances: They have been kidnapped and, along with hundreds of other children, will be sold into child slavery. Unless, that is, they can find some way to save them all.

But all their fates lie in the hands of Jared, Shireen, and Miranda. The future—and the lives—of these three very modern children become entirely intertwined with those of the children from the past. Danger, it seems, has a way of spanning centuries.

“Reminiscent to Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart.” —School Library Journal

About The Author

Ian Baucom is a professor and Director of the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University. He is the author of several books for adults and currently lives with his wife and children in Durham, North Carolina.

About The Illustrator

Justin Gerard won an IPPY Award for his interpretation of Beowolf: Grendel the Ghastly. He lives in South Carolina.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (March 19, 2013)
  • Length: 400 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442460799
  • Grades: 4 - 8
  • Ages: 9 - 13
  • Lexile ® 700L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

"Six kids—three from modern-day United States, three from Venice in the late Middle Ages—struggle to right ancient wrongs in this engaging fantasy adventure.
American siblings Jared and Shireen and their younger sister, Miranda, are two months into their semesterlong stay in Venice. There while their university-professor father does research, the excitement of living abroad has grown old. After they accept presents and an ancient book from an elderly Venetian bookseller, they are compelled by the magic in the gifts and the story in the book to rescue the other three—Rashid, Francesca and Maria—from the clutches of an unbalanced and fanatical monk. Interspersed “translations” from the gift book provide a vague historical setting and keep the plot moving while producing maximum suspense and excitement. Mystery and anticipation build to the very end of the story, much of it caused by wondering if the clueless American parents will discover their children’s nightly....
A likable fantasy, the author’s first for children."

– Kirkus Reviews

"Give this to fantasy buffs, especially fans of Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart series."

– Booklist

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images