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The King's Fifth

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / 1966 / Hardcover

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Product Description

There were seven of them when they left the summer camp of Coronado's army and struck out into that unknown land, which is now our great Southwest, to find the golden cities of Cibola. Of the seven, Captain Mendoza and his three soldiers were drawn by their greed for treasure; Father Francisco went for the love of the souls he hoped to save; Esteban de Sandoval, whose story this is, thought only of the maps he would draw of the countries sill unseen and scarcely dreamed of in the courts of Spain; and Zia, the Indian girl, their guide an interpreter, who saw more clearly than the others the hazards of the dangerous journey.

For Esteban it was all a glorious adventure until that moment when he held in this hand a peace of the gleaming metal and for the first time felt its awful alchemy. As one city after another Chicilticale, Hawikuh, Nexpan City of the Abyss, Tawhi the city of the Clouds -- is conquered by the conquistadors in their search for the shining hoard, this alchemy seizes upon the expedition until all is sacrificed to the lust for gold -- blood, honor, sanity -- life itself. But even as Esteban survives the hardship of mountains and desert, the evil of ruthless men, so does he make his way across the country of the mind. The two journeys follow parallel courses, and for each it seems that a maker of maps, no matter what his skill with cross staff and astrolabe or knowledge of the stars, still needs a guide to find his way.

In this deeply affecting novel Scott O'Dell envelops the reader in the heroic world of the conquistadors -- a world that is at once somber and many-colored. Ruthless they may have been, these steel-helmeted you men of Spain, but they lived their lives on the very edge of eternity with style and uncommon courage. Recommended for ages 12 and up. A 1967 Newbery Honor book.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Vendor: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: 1966
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.75 X 1 (inches)
ISBN: 0395069637
ISBN-13: 9780395069639
Availability: In Stock
Ages: 12-16

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Publisher's Description

While awaiting trial for murder and withholding from the king the obligatory fifth of the gold found in Cibola, Esteban, a seventeen-year-old cartographer, recalls his adventures with a band of conquistadors.

Author Bio

Scott O’Dell (1898–1989), one of the most respected authors of historical fiction, received the Newbery Medal, three Newbery Honor Medals, and the Hans Christian Andersen Author Medal, the highest international recognition for a body of work by an author of books for young readers. Some of his many books include The Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Road to Damietta, Sing Down the Moon, and The Black Pearl.

Editorial Reviews

"The writing is subtly beautiful, often moving, and says more than may be caught in one reading." Horn Book

"The writing is subtly beautiful, often moving, and says more than may be caught in one reading." Horn Book Guide

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