- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
- Format: Paperback | 272 pages
- Dimensions: 135mm x 216mm x 20mm | 305g
- Publication date: 24 May 2012
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0857077317
- ISBN 13: 9780857077318
- Edition statement: Trade Paperback.
- Sales rank: 74,192
The first book in the thrilling YA sequence, Order of Darkness. The year is 1453, and all signs point to it being the end of the world. Accused of heresy and expelled from his monastery, handsome seventeen-year-old, Luca Vero, is recruited by a mysterious stranger to record the end of times across Europe. Commanded by sealed orders, Luca is sent to map the fears of Christendom, and travel to the very frontier of good and evil. Seventeen-year-old Isolde, a Lady Abbess, is trapped in a nunnery to prevent her claiming her rich inheritance. As the nuns in her care are driven mad by strange visions, walking in their sleep, and showing bleeding wounds, Luca is sent to investigate and all the evidence points to Isolde's criminal guilt. Outside in the yard they are building a pyre to burn her for witchcraft. Forced to face the greatest fears of the medieval world - dark magic, werewolves, madness - Luca and Isolde embark on a search for truth, their own destinies, and even love as they take the unknown ways to the real historical figure who defends the boundaries of Christendom and holds the secrets of the Order of Darkness.
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Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the international bestseller The Other Boleyn Girl, which became a major film starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. She has written several bestselling novels set in the Tudor period and The Cousins' War series which is to be a major TV production. This book is the first of a new series of novels set in medieval Europe: Order of Darkness. Philippa's other great interest is the charity that she founded nearly twenty years ago: Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 160 wells for the primary schools of this poor African country. A former student of Sussex University, and a PhD and Alumna of the Year at Edinburgh University, her love of history is the hallmark of her writing. She lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire. She welcomes visitors to her site www.PhilippaGregory.com
By MissPageTurner 05 Mar 2013
Historical romance is a genre I've enjoyed reading for quite a while now. You can imagine my elation when I heard that there would be a YA historical fiction book coming out by Simon & Schuster UK. And as I really enjoyed Philippa Gregory's YA debut, I regret not knowing about her numerous other historical novels before.
The setting of 15th century Italy with its nunnery, various villages and the capital Rome is simply atmospheric. Philippa Gregory's newest novel is in no way inferior to other adult historical novels. CHANGELING too has the great motives and emotions moving the population of the Middle Ages.
About Luca and Isolde. I can tell you that equally large parts of the story, told by an omniscient narrator, are focused on both of their perspectives. We get their different views on current events and see them in action to further investigate in the scary incidents plaguing the nunnery's peace. I expected so much to happen between them, the story focusing on a romantic relationship between them, but so far only glimpses of their feelings for each other are revealed. Philippa Gregory left Luca and Isolde's relationship at a point I so badly wanted to continue, to know what would come next.
Luca appears like the strong investigator empowered by God. Isolde seems to be a fragile young lady, a victim of her lord's greed. But when it comes to looking into Luca's past he can suddenly be more vulnerable. And having retribution and honour as incentive Isolde appears to be the ruler she was born to be. I'm waiting for more revelations about both of their pasts in a sequel.
Their companions Freize and Ishraq complement their masters and friends with their abilities to fight and see into the heart of the most frightening creatures out there. There's a lot of tension between the two of them and their banter and their bluff manners felt amusing and gave the story some spice.
To help the reader navigate through the story, one of the first pages of the book contains a drawn map that allows us to follow their journey. Each new chapter of the book, there are only a few since they mostly stretch over many pages, is illustrated artfully with an image of a new location. Chapters are organised in smaller sections by further illustrative dividers. CHANGELING is illustrated by Fred van Deelen and Sally Taylor.
Evil conspiracies, crazy nuns, terrifying monsters and new questions for investigator Luca keep the story moving through minor stagnations in story flow, especially through the often dialogue-heavy segments of interrogations.
Where other historical novels can reach high page counts between 500 and 1000 pages sometimes, CHANGELING with its 272 pages can be considered a quick bite for connoisseurs of historical romances. A shortcoming resulting from mentioned page count could be seen in less space to develop characters, respectively to put the major events and more relevant incidents in motion.
At the same moment CHANGELING can also mean a good start into the historical direction for YA fans that are looking for a new story that can be consumed in bite-sized parts.
Of course Philippa's CHANGELING also shouldn't go unnoticed by her devoted fans and adult readers. They better bring some patience with them, because the story of Luca and Isolde has just begun. Now it's Philippa's turn to continue their journey. I will be awaiting the sequel with much anticipation!
CHANGELING- A historical YA feast that serves its readers with a rich 15th century Italian scenery and prominent characters!
Why aren't there more historical stories that come together with YA and fiction?
It's the pull of the conspiracies and new quests sending our group of young heroes on a journey through the landscape of medieval Italy and the skilful way of Philippa Gregory to weave historical fiction that make CHANGELING so appealing, to various audiences no matter the age.