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It is, perhaps, the fifteenth century and the ordered tranquillity of a Mediterranean island is about to be shattered by the appearance of two outsiders: one, a castaway, plucked from the sea by fishermen, whose beliefs represent a challenge to the established order; the other, a child abandoned by her mother and suckled by wolves, who knows nothing of the precarious relationship between Church and State but whose innocence will become the subject of a dangerous experiment. But the arrival of the Inquisition on the island creates a darker, more threatening force which will transform what has been a philosophical game of chess into a matter of life and death...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780552997805
ISBN-10: 0552997803
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 127mm x 17mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Black Swan
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publish Date: 2-Jan-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » On a remote medieval island, a crucial philosophical debate takes place between Palinor, a shipwrecked atheist, and inquisitors from the church which controls the island and seeks to destroy him. Palinor is a principled and highly educated engineer, whose personal brand of humanism begins to undermine the faith of the gentle monk who is trying to convert him to Christianity. Meanwhile, the Cardinal-Prince Severo aims to reprieve Palinor from death in a bizarre social experiment that hinges on the proven innocence or otherwise of the savage wolf girl captured by simple shepherds; and the lives of the atheist and the wolf child are secretly played off against each other. This brilliant and imaginative novel is related in language that is deceptively simple, belying the complex strands of religion and ideas that provide its underlying drama, and is also remarkable for the rich tapestry of medieval life that it portrays. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Jill Paton Walsh

Jill Paton Walsh was educated at St Michael's Convent, North Finchley, and at St Anne's College, Oxford. She is the author of several highly praised adult novels: Lapsing, A School For Lovers, Knowledge of Angels, which was shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize, Goldengrove Unleaving, The Serpentine Cave and A Desert in Bohemia. She has also won many awards for her children's literature, including the Whitbread Prize, the Universe Prize and the Smarties Award. She has three children and lives in Cambridge.

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