Fen Gold by Joan Lennon
(Suggested reading level: Grades 4-6)
This is Pip and Perfect’s second adventure, following Ely Plot. Pip is a young orphaned boy who lives at Wicket Monastery deep in the fens of medieval England. Perfect, his companion, is a small, talking, swimming, flying dragon gargoyle, and they make a great pair, lively, adventurous true friends.
It’s a sweltering summer when two strangers arrive at the monastery in need of medical help. The first is a man from the King’s court, the second is older Norseman who is accompanied by two brawny young men and a girl, the Lady Rane.
The Lady Rane was different: exotic, unlikely, a breath of fresh air, wild like the open sea … golden. In their minds, the Brothers looked for the right words, and often found, instead, memories of things long forgotten, from childhood, or stories of faraway places that had stirred them once, emotions and dreams from the time before the habit of Wickit became so wholly familiar. It was as if the roving Viking blood that ran through her veins stirred up echoes in their own. (pg. 41)
Pip and Perfect unwillingly join Rane on a treasure hunt through the treacherous marshes, a trip filled with danger from the terrain and another who wants the fortune.
I truly enjoy this series. It’s full of excitement and action, which keeps Amber glued to the story, but we also learn more about the time period, which I appreciate. In this installment, medicine is important, as is cultural differences. Rane early in the book discovers Perfect and realizes that teh dragon’s a secret from everyone else, but she doesn’t scream or accuse Pip of witchcraft, as he is afraid people will. She accepts Perfect and later tells the dragon that in her homeland, Perfect wouldn’t have to hide, she’d be respected as a child of the World Serpent.
Also, the story makes a point of how class affects people’s interactions. Although Rane is younger, smaller and a female, the two men do what she tells them, period. She’s in charge. And then there’s the man from court, who as a younger brother wishes he had his older brother’s advantages, money and influence. Of course, the man’s not a very nice person to begin with, but he doesn’t realize that, he thinks his way in life would be paved in gold if hadn’t been the younger son.
As always, Lennon includes an amusing and education Q & A section in the back of the book, telling more about life during that time period. In this one, she covers questions ranging from what is ague to who is the World Serpent.
This is an outstanding story for its audience, an unfamiliar setting with hazards of its own, plenty of adventure and just a touch of fantasy.
First published 2007
Wickit Chronicles #2
Our copy was given to Amber as a gift and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.