Book 1: 9th-12th August, 1658: Once there was a gypsy queen who wore on her wrist a chain of six lucky charms - a golden crown, a silver horse, a butterfly caught in amber, a cat's eye shell, a bolt of lightning forged from the heart of a falling star, and the flower of the rue plant, herb of grace. The queen gave each of her six children one of the charms as their lucky talisman, but ever since the chain of charms was broken, the gypsies had been dogged by misfortune. Life had always been hard for the gypsies, who live to their own rhythm and their own rules, but since Oliver Cromwell had seized control of England, life had been harder and drabber than ever. But now life for the Finch tribe has gone even more horribly wrong. They have been accused of vagrancy and murder, and thrown into gaol with only three weeks to live. The only members of the family to escape are 13-year-old Emilia and her cousin Luka. They have been entrusted to find the six charms and bring them together again. Then, perhaps, the gypsies could once again have some luck...And the Finch tribe could walk free.
What Emilia and Luka do not realise is that there is a price to be paid for each lucky charm, and that the cost may prove too high...
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(178mm x 112mm x 14mm)
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
A Gypsy family in Cromwell's England shrugs off old Maggie Finch's gloomy warnings and heads to the fair to make some money entertaining the crowds. When the contemptuous local pastor and Cromwell's villainous agent Coldham confront this "tribe of infidels," mayhem erupts, and most of the hapless Finches get tossed in jail. Thirteen-year-old Emilia and her cousin Luka escape to get help, and so begins their suspenseful, 20-day race with time against the day the magistrates will hang their loved ones. Emilia, who has "the eye" like her fortunetelling baba, is charged with reuniting five charms from five widely dispersed Gypsy families to form a magic chain powerful enough to save the day. Trudging through the spy-ridden countryside with Coldham on their heels, the two heroes (and their horse, dog, bear and monkey companions) bravely persevere. While the historical context seems occasionally overexplained and the actual plot occasionally underexplained, this fast-paced adventure, published in Australia as a six-book series called the Chain of Charms, is a multifaceted tale told with zeal and heart. (historical note) (Fiction. 12-14) (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Kate Forsyth
Kate Forsyth is the internationally bestselling author of more than twenty books, including The Witches of Eileanan and Rhiannon's Ride series for adults, and The Puzzle Ring, The Gypsy Crown, and The Starthorn Tree for children. She has won or been nominated for numerous awards. Her books have been published in 14 different countries, including Japan, Poland, Spain, Russia - where Bitter Greens has recently hit the bestseller lists - and Turkey, and Kate is currently undertaking a doctorate in fairytale retellings at the University of Technology in Sydney. Her other novels include Bitter Greens a retelling of Rapunzel and The Wild Girl, the story of how the Grimm brothers collected their folk tales.
Kate is a direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, 'A Mother's Offering to her Children''. She lives by the sea in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books.
Kate is also a proud ambassador for the two following wonderful initiatives to help disadvantaged children change their worlds through the power of books and reading - Room to Read and The Pyjama Foundation