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Heretic [Paperback]

Sarah Singleton
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: 5.99
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Book Description

6 Feb 2006
When Elizabeth finds a green-tinged creature in the woods she's amazed to discover that it's actually a girl of her own age. Isabella has spent the last 300 years in the faery world, hiding from persecutors who accused her of being the daughter of a witch. Elizabeth has her own persecutors to face. A catholic priest is hiding in her home - an act of treason in 1586 - and the net is closing in. As they become friends, Elizabeth and Isabella must find a way to protect the family from being torn apart.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's (6 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416904034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416904038
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 782,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Sarah Singleton was born in Northamptonshire, studied in Nottingham and has travelled widely. She lives in Chippenham with her family and worked until recently as senior reporter for the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald. She is the author of Century, Heretic, Sacrifice and The Amethyst Child for Simon and Schuster.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I am an English teacher and so read a lot of books written for kids, and believe me, this mesmerising world of fairies and angels is nothing like a mere teen's book at all, in fact, it is the most gripping and absorbing novel I have read in a long, long time.

The novel is set in 16th century Protestant England during which Catholics were persecuted, and enemies of the heretical faith lurk in every corner. And though Sarah Singleton may seem to harbour sympathies for the Catholic faith, the story moves back in time to the 13th century when a mother was executed for witchcraft by the Catholic church, showing that intolerance is always an issue, and how dangerous it was to go against established religion. The fear of discovery and hiding away, the pain inflicted on the "unfaithful," and the inability of a child to protect its family are some of the most moving passages in this novel. The language is a feast for the senses, very descriptive, brimming with elaborate adjectives, metaphors and similes. At the same time, a dark, gloomy sense of mystery and intrigue pervades the book, enemies of the faith hiding away and persecutors watching and following every step. Interwoven into 16th century England are magical and fantastical worlds and a host of strange and dangerous creatures - a green-faced and green-haired heroine from the Shadow Land, goblins, fairies who trick and delude you and blood-thirsty angels so unlike the holy creatures that we are used to.

A kaleidescope of different worlds and magical creatures, this story is not just a simple tale of good and evil. Even the angels and the fairies are vengeful and cruel, and inflict torment on those who are thirsty for blood. A bit like C.S.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another stunner 19 Feb 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If Susanna Clarke wrote for children (and if Dan Brown could write) the result would be this book. It's got everything - alternate worlds, faeries, life and death, witchcraft and even a secret Catholic sect. Superb reading for children with a rich vocabulary and all the right ingredients to keep their interest right up to the end. While not shrinking from the unpleasant realities of the Elizabethan period, good eventually triumphs as a result of the determination and courage of two girls whose lives are intertwined, Isabella and Elizabeth. Questions of morality and religious principles exercise the thoughts of the girls as they endure hardship and tragedy. However, the book never sinks into sentimentality and the girls overcome all, eventually rescuing the adults in the book, something all children want to read. Although the two girls are unequivocally in the centre of the action, they are supported by two strong female role models from whom they learn their loyalty, love, empathy and self sacrifice.
The book conjures up a community split by religious factions and asks how much people are prepared to sacrifice for their faith, something which is pertinent to the questions young people are asking in the 21st century. Facing dangerous ignorance and prejudice, their loss eventually brings about gain and the book has a very satisfying ending when a family is reunited and the villain gets his come-uppance, with a mysterious twist on the last page. This is Sarah Singleton's second novel and she has achieved a remarkable work establishing her firmly in the company of Philip Pulman and G P Taylor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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Sarah Singleton is a fabulous writer for children and young adults. She is able to create worlds where faeries and strange creatures sit plausibly against that of ours, at the same time creating believeable characters who are interesting, complex and well developed.
Despite HERETIC only being just over 250 pages, Singleton's talent has created a book that certainly packs a punch.
The novel is set during Queen Elizabeth I's reign, and follows the story of Elizabeth, a young girl whose family is Catholic at a time when followers of that religion are being persecuted on order of the Queen. Whilst out in the forest one day, Elizabeth discovers a young girl who has skin the colour of the forest. The girt says that her name is Isabella Leland and is nothing like anything that Elizabeth has seen before. As she learns more about the girl, she discovers that they are the same age; but Isabella has spent the last 300 years in the Shadow Land, with the faeries. The girls become friends, united in the religious tensions of the day as Elizabeth's family shelters a Catholic priest from the Queen's men.

That is a brief synopsis. Once this story takes hold of you, you will find it difficult to let it go. Singleton's writing perfectly creates the sense of tension and persecution that would have been part of many people's lives at this time in history. What I also loved about the story was how the two girls began to realise that, although three hundred years separated their births, they had things in common which helped them to come together for what they believe. Religion and faith are big subjects to be tackled by any author and the fact that Singleton manages to take them on in such a successful way goes to show how accomplished she is.

Highly recommended - also look out for CENTURY, also by Singleton.
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