O to live in the heart of such a fire, like a salamander! Alfredo, a choir boy in 18th-century Italy, loses his family in a fire, and his mysterious Uncle Giorgio spirits him away to their ancestral home below a volcano. There he learns that Uncle Giorgio is the Master of the Mountain; he can control the volcano. He is also an alchemist, able to make gold from the tears of the fiery salamander he captured from the heart of the mountain. Alfredo is his heir, the next Master; and as Alfredo learns the history of his family and its power, he begins to suspect that his uncle is actually a fearsome sorcerer.
Thoughtful readers will find much to ponder in the afterglow of this tale of an alchemy powerful enough to transmute a handful of isolated, unhappy beings into a loving family and to change an existence scorched by tragedy into a life worth living. Ages 10-up.
School Library Journal - Renee Steinberg
Gr 6-9-An intriguing, intricately woven fantasy set in Italy and then Sicily....This latest offering from a master storyteller is not an easy read, but fantasy fans will stick with it, hoping for good's triumph.
Complex characters, spectacular magical and natural outbursts, taut plotting, and atmospheric writing unite in a coruscating exhibition of storytelling. (Fiction. 11-13)
Booklist - Ilene Cooper
Starred Review. Gr. 6-9. In this sophisticated story, Dickinson takes readers inside a volcanic mountain of fire, where a salamander sheds healing tears and excretes liquid gold....Not everything here is easy to understand the power of the salamanders and the mystical relationship they have with the mountain's fire are sometimes too esoteric to grasp. But Alfredo's relationship with the people who live under the volcano is sharp and strongly written, and the fierce beauty of the mountain and its fire will linger in memory.
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
A remarkable fantasy, exquisite, and a challenge to readers of any age....This is not going to be a popular YA book, because of its challenges, but for those readers who are fascinated by metaphysics, by music, by intricate fantasy, this is a special treat.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by JOSEPH FRAM
This is a good book to read outside of the house in the country. I enjoyed its full details and interesting facts about volcane life in Italy.The novel was suspenseful and makes you understand what the novel is about.
Rated of 5
by Thomas Morgan-Witts aged 10
I loved the Tears of the Salamander because it had a lot of suspence. For example when Uncle Gorgeo arrived you didn't know what was going to happen to him. It also was full of excitement. For example when the Buena Ventura burst into... Read More
A dragon. A boy. A journey. Together, they embark on a magical journey to find the legendary place where silver dragons can live in peace for ever, with only a curious map and the whispered memories of an old dragon to guide them.
Darkness falls despair abounds evil reigns Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider. Ages 12+.
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