Crispin: At the Edge of the World
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The more I came to know of the world, the more I knew I knew it not.
He was a nameless orphan, marked for death by his masters for an unknown crime. Discovering his name— Crispin—only intensified the mystery. Then Crispin met Bear, who helped him learn the secret of his full identity. And in Bear—the enormous, red-bearded juggler, sometime spy, and everyday philosopher—Crispin also found a new father and a new world.
Now Crispin and Bear have set off to live their lives as free men. But they don’t get far before their past catches up with them: Bear is being pursued by members of the secret brotherhood who believe he is an informer. When Bear is badly wounded, it is up to Crispin to make decisions about their future—where to go, whom to trust. Along the way they become entangled with an extraordinary range of people, each of whom affects Crispin and Bear’s journey in unexpected ways. To find freedom and safety, they may have to travel to the edge of the world—even if it means confronting death itself.
In this riveting sequel to the Newbery-Award winning Crispin: The Cross of Lead—the second book in a planned trilogy—Avi explores themes of war, religion, and family as he continues the adventures of Crispin and Bear.
his back and the bear smote him dead. But the bear let me—who had been kind to him—cut that chain. When I did, the bear lumbered off” “What am I to learn from that?” “I took my name from that bear.” “Why?” “That bear knew when it was time to free himself.” “I don’t understand.” “Because,” he whispered, “that bear was held back from his natural state, as if … as if the links of the chain were his sins. My sins bind me—just so.” I felt increasingly uncomfortable. “Bear,” I blurted out, “I
shells were scattered everywhere. With each passing moment, the air cleared further, revealing blue sky and a warm, bright sun. Birds called like rasping angels. Though it seemed odd to find the land so firm, I was grateful to be there. How extraordinary, I thought, to be some place without knowledge of where one was. I considered anew the possibility that we had died. Perhaps Heaven was no more than this unknown shore. Then I had to remind myself, it was equally possible we had come to Hell.
afraid to ask. 32 WE SET out the next day at dawn. Beneath low clouds, the sky was layered bloodred, the air damp enough to promise rain. Richard Dudley led the way on his horse. The other soldiers marched behind, Bear, Troth, and I among them. At one point, Dudley wheeled about and came back to speak a few words to Bear. I did not hear them. When I asked Bear what was said, he would only shake his head. His look, however, was grim enough to fill me with foreboding. We went on. Our pace
like a noose. Trying to touch the twigs as little as possible—lest the beasts sniff out my scent—I set the snare down in the middle of the glade, then took myself off the immediate spot and waited, rock in hand. Bear had instructed me not to move, to breathe softly; merely, in fact, to think, and to do so silently. But how difficult to wait when you are wanting food and that food is not yet caught—nay, not even visible. For the sound of waiting is full of noise: every creak was hope, every
that Richard Dudley—a fictional character—does here. The ancient English town of Rye still exists, though with changing coastal patterns it now sits inland. The burning of the town by French and Castilian forces took place in 1377. The cog—the kind of ship that takes Bear, Crispin, and Troth to Brittany—was widely used during this time by Atlantic coast countries. Many relics of these ships have been uncovered. A complete reconstruction of such a ship, the Bremen Cog, as it is called, has been