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The Tears of the Salamander by Peter…

The Tears of the Salamander (2003)

by Peter Dickinson

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1625104,799 (3.6)11



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Showing 5 of 5
Dickinson has an amazing imagination. I'm thinking this is pretty intense for children, and so I disagree with my library for not putting it on the YA shelf despite how short it is (putting it instead in juvenile, which is usually browsed by 6-10 year olds). It's also richer than the somewhat simple storyline might make you imagine - it's deeper and more resonant, which I hope you'll see when you read it carefully for yourself. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Overall, I would give The Tears of the Salamander 3 out of 5 stars as I did not feel like the book itself lived up to the intriguing premise. I think that younger readers may enjoy this book because of the plot and the simplicity of the writing but unfortunately this was not for me.

Full review on my blog
( )
  charlottejones952 | Sep 2, 2013 |
Formulaic and predictable, though well-written. A young man comes into his magical heritage, smites evildoers, & grows up. I'm not sure why he didn't rescue a princess, but perhaps there's going to be a sequel. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
"In this sophisticated story, Dickinson takes readers inside a volcanic mountain of fire, where a salamander sheds healing tears and excretes liquid gold. Thirteen-year-old Alfredo is happy with his Tuscan life, singing in the choir and tending to the fires of his father's bakery oven. Then comes tragedy: the family house burns. Alfredo, the only survivor, is whisked away to his ancestral home by his mysterious uncle, who has an ulterior motive. Although simply and elegantly written, Dickinson's story is, nonetheless, complex, as Alfredo moves from a wary gratefulness to discovery of the horrifying truth: his uncle, who controls the volcano, is ready to use his sorcerer's powers to claim Alfredo's strong, young body for his own. Not everything here is easy to understand: the power of the salamanders and the mystical relationship they have with the mountain's fire are sometimes too esoteric to grasp. But Alfredo's relationship with the people who live under the volcano is sharp and strongly written, and the fierce beauty of the mountain and its fire will linger in memory." Category: Books for Older Readers--Fiction. 2003, Random/Wendy Lamb, $16.95, $18.99. Gr. 6-9. Starred Review
Ilene Cooper (Booklist, May 15, 2003 (Vol. 99, No. 18))
  MyraC | Oct 9, 2007 |
I was seduced into reading this book by a pretty cover, a reduced sticker and needing a fast read. It's one of a great number of fantasy books for kids that twists some of the classic ideas of children's stories around and uses them in fantasy. The slightly disturbing trend in writers to kill off families to leave a child who has to take care of his own future is used again here and includes the classic evil "step-mother" trick, here in the form of an uncle. Throw in a mystical destiny and you've got yourself a moderately entertaining read which manages to avoid drifting too far into pretensious waffle and even manages an entertaining twist at the end. Don't know what kids would think of it, but this 26 year old found it quite enjoyable and definately more relaxing read then some of the rest of my reading list recently. ( )
  sulkyblue | May 9, 2007 |
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The gift arrived for Alfredo's seventh name-day.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440238234, Paperback)

Alfredo, a choir boy in 18th-century Italy, loses his family in a fire, and his mysterious Uncle Giorgio spirits him away to their ancestral home below a volcano. There he learns that Uncle Giorgio is the Master of the Mountain; he can control the volcano. He is also an alchemist, able to make gold from the tears of the fiery salamander he captured from the heart of the mountain. Alfredo is his heir, the next Master; and as Alfredo learns the history of his family and its power, he begins to suspect that his uncle is actually a fearsome sorcerer.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:14 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When Alfredo, a twelve-year-old choir boy in eighteenth-century Italy, loses his family in a fire, he goes to live with Uncle Giorgio, who he discovers is a sorcerer in control of the fires of Mt. Etna with sinister plans for his nephew.

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