Cover image for Forge
Title:
Forge
ISBN:
9781416961444
Edition:
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, c2010.
Physical Description:
297 p. : map ; 22 cm.
General Note:
Sequel to: Chains.
Reading Level:
820 L Lexile
Summary:
Separated from his friend Isabel after their daring escape from slavery, fifteen-year-old Curzon serves as a free man in the Continental Army at Valley Forge until he and Isabel are thrown together again, as slaves once more.
Holds:

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Summary

Summary

In this compelling sequel to Chains , a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings to the page the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstacles--and in the midst of the American Revolution.

The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped slave passing for free. And then there is Isabel, who is also at Valley Forge--against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom.


Author Notes

Laurie Halse Anderson was born in Potsdam, New York on October 23, 1961. She received a B.S.L.L. in Languages and Linguistics from Georgetown University in 1984. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked as a freelance reporter. Her first book, Ndito Runs, was published in 1996. She has written numerous books for children including Turkey Pox, No Time for Mother's Day, Fever 1793, Speak, Catalyst, Independent Dames: What You Never Knew about the Women and Girls of the American Revolution, Chains and The Impossible Knife of Memory. She also created the Wild at Heart series, which was originally published by American Girl but is now called the Vet Volunteers series and is published by Penguin Books for Young Readers.

Anderson has been nominated and won multiple honorary awards for her literary work. For the masterpiece Speak, Anderson won the Printz Honor Book Award, a National Book Award nomination, Golden Kite award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her book Fever 1793 won the American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults selection and the Junior Library Guild selection. In 2008, Chains was selected for the National Book Award Finalist and in 2009 was awarded for its Historical Fiction the Scott O'Dell Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 6

Publisher's Weekly Review

Second in the Seeds of America trilogy, this sequel to the National Book Award finalist Chains is narrated by Curzon, the slave Isabel freed from prison while escaping her own enslavement in 1777 New York City. Curzon immediately explains how he and Isabel lived in New Jersey for a few months, before she ran away with their meager funds in hopes of finding her sister, a quest Curzon refused to support. Months later, Curzon is doing his best to forget Isabel, though the depth of his feelings is made evident in flashbacks of their time together. After Curzon saves the life of Eben, a young rebel soldier, he joins the army and suffers through the winter at Valley Forge; tension mounts when Curzon's former owner arrives. Anderson includes meticulous details about the lives of soldiers and, with just a few words, brings readers deep inside Curzon's experience ("My belly voted louder than my wits"). Her masterful storytelling weaves themes of friendship, politics, love, and liberty into a deeply satisfying tale that will leave readers hungry for the final volume. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

Chains (rev. 11/08) ended with slave girl Isabel escaping from 1776 New York with fellow slave Curzon, who takes over the narration in this sequel. Only fifteen, he enlists in the Continental Army in late 1777. His experiences as a young runaway slave during the American Revolution differ greatly from Isabel's; though he lives in fear of discovery, he befriends a white soldier boy named Eben and even gains a sense of patriotism and camaraderie serving alongside other soldiers encamped for the winter at Valley Forge. Unfortunate circumstances bring Curzon and Isabel back together, and it is the struggle to mend their friendship and continue their quest for freedom that drives the latter half of the novel. Anderson seamlessly weaves her fictitious characters into history in a cohesive, well-researched narrative about the Revolutionary War that still focuses foremost on developing characters and their interpersonal relationships. Relevant historical quotes at the beginning of each chapter add authenticity, as does Curzon's firsthand account of daily life at Valley Forge; his detailed narration of privations, inequalities, and hard work compellingly conveys the plight of the common soldier. As one man in Curzon's regiment explains, Valley Forge "is a forge for the army; it's testing our qualities. Instead of heat and hammer, our trials are cold and hunger. Question is, what are we made of?" With this riveting sequel, Anderson certainly passes the test. cynthia k. ritter (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

Anderson follows her searing, multi-award-winning novel Chains (2008) with this well-researched sequel, also set during the Revolutionary War and narrated by a young African American. This time, though, her central character is male, and the heartbreaking drama shifts from Chains' domestic town houses to graphically described bloody battlefields. After a narrowly successful escape from Manhattan, former slaves Isabel and Curzon separate, and Curzon is once again on the run. He finds necessary food and shelter as a private with the Continental army, and through Curzon's eyes, Anderson re-creates pivotal historical scenes, including the desperate conditions at Valley Forge. Curzon isn't as fully realized here as Isabel was in Chains, resulting in a less-cohesive and -compelling whole. Once again, though, Anderson's detailed story creates a cinematic sense of history while raising crucial questions about racism, the ethics of war, and the hypocrisies that underlie our country's founding definitions of freedom. Chapter heads excerpted from historical documents and a long appendix that offers research suggestions and separates fact and fiction add further curricular appeal.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

THE specter of full-grown adults festooned in tricorn hats may have retreated in the post-Tucson landscape, but the American Revolution and its reputed lessons are still in the air, making this an interesting time for Laurie Halse Anderson to publish "Forge," her new novel about the Revolution and colonial-era slavery, and a sequel to her prize-winning "Chains." While her books take up some of the same themes as the "Octavian Nothing" novels of M.T. Anderson (no relation) - the link between the freedom of the colonies and the freedom of slaves, the double-dealing and hypocrisy of both the American colonists and the British - they are different in scale; the two volumes of "Octavian Nothing" are encyclopedic and magisterial, whereas "Chains" and "Forge" are conspicuous for their almost claustrophobic narrative voices. In "Chains," significant events involving the Tories and the patriots unfold in the background while the voice of Isabel, a slave, commands our attention; the commotion outside enters her consciousness only as "buzzing." On the inside, however, Isabel is screaming. Her life is one of constant pain from whippings, branding, imprisonment and other forms of mistreatment. A new narrator appears in "Forge" (the second book in an anticipated trilogy). Curzon is another slave and a boy who captured Isabel's interest in "Chains." The scene changes too, from a besieged New York to the winter encampment of Valley Forge. But what continues is the close, internal voice of an abused narrator. Curzon is not only a freed slave returned to bondage, but a new recruit in the Continental Army during that winter's freezing cold and constant hunger. "Breakfast was firecake and water. Dinner was firecake and water," Curzon reports one day in December 1777 - firecake was flour baked on stones. A handful of rice the next day is cause for celebration. Valley Forge has forever been linked with Thomas Paine's question about whether the rebel would prove to be merely "the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot." Here, Curzon supplies an answer. Intent on gaining his own freedom as much as that of the colonies, he endures - with the help of poor white friends, in the face of evil slave-holding gentry and despite the petulance of Isabel, his romantic interest, with whom he is dramatically reunited when both are re-enslaved. When it comes to background research, Anderson has clearly and commendably done her work. It is difficult to imagine there will ever be historical fiction about this time in America that is more nuanced or respectful of time and place. Her accounts of the hardships at Valley Forge are moving and vivid; historical quotations serve as epigraphs to each chapter, hinting at what will follow ("We have near 90 men in the regiment that have not a shoe to their foot and near as many who have no feet to their stockings," a lieutenant colonel wrote in January 1778 to his superior officer). Anderson's appendix includes an annotated list of books by historians, expanded on her Web site, and using her considerable skills as a storyteller, she has brought them to life. She herself has been a librarian and a park ranger, and is a descendant of Revolutionary soldiers. In our own times, Tea Party acolytes have reimagined America's radicals and revolutionaries as protoconservatives keen on fiscal restraint. Anderson's "Forge" is a terrific return not only to the colonial era but to historical accuracy. Jerry Griswold teaches at San Diego State University. His most recent book is "Feeling Like a Kid: Childhood and Children's Literature."


School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-10-Following Isabel and Curzon's escape at the conclusion of Chains (2008), Laurie Halse Anderson's sequel (2010, both Atheneum), set during the American Revolution, begins as 15-year-old freed slave Curzon joins the army. Curzon must find a reliable way to feed and clothe himself while Isabel has run off to find her sister. As a private in the Continental army, he enjoys the soldier's life until his previous master, now working for the army's officers, reclaims him and Curzon becomes a slave again. With mixed feelings, Curzon discovers that Isabel has also been recaptured, and the two runaways are reunited. As their lives become more repugnant and their feelings for each other slowly grow, the pair plots their escape. Anderson masterfully presents moments in history through Curzon's eyes and gives listeners much food for thought. Students will learn about the Battle of Saratoga, wintering in Valley Forge, and more in this well-researched novel. Tim Cain's wonderfully rich voice adds subtle nuances to Curzon's text in this well-paced production. A must-have for libraries that already circulate Chains.-Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

At the end of Chains (2008), Isabel rescues her friend Curzon from Bridewell Prison and rows away from Manhattan in their escape from slavery. Now, in the second of the planned trilogy, Isabel goes her own way, and 15-year-old Curzon takes over as narrator. Passing as free, he joins the Continental Army at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78, where, against the most desperate of circumstances, he forges a friendship with fellow soldiers. When he is enslaved again and meets up with Isabel, he and she must once again take liberty into their own hands and find a way to escape. Weaving a huge amount of historical detail seamlessly into the story, Anderson creates a vivid setting, believable characters both good and despicable and a clear portrayal of the moral ambiguity of the Revolutionary age. Not only can this sequel stand alone, for many readers it will be one of the best novels they have ever read. A good match with Russell Freedman's Washington at Valley Forge (2008). (appendix, glossary, acknowledgments) (Historical fiction. 10 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Excerpts

Excerpts

CHAPTER I Tuesday, October 7, 1777 "BEGIN THE GAME." --GENERAL HORATIO GATES'S ORDER TO START THE SECOND BATTLE OF SARATOGA THE MEMORY OF OUR ESCAPE STILL tormented me nine months later. It did not matter that I'd found us shelter and work in Jersey or that I'd kept us safe. Isabel was ungrateful, peevish, and vexatious. We argued about going after Ruth, then we fought about it, and finally, in May, she ran away from me, taking all of our money. I twisted my ear so hard, it was near torn from my head. No thoughts of Isabel, I reminded myself. Find that blasted road. I'd been looking for the back road to Albany since dawn on account of my former boss, Trumbull, was a cabbagehead and a cheat. The Patriot army had hired him and his two wagons (one of them driven by myself) to help move supplies up to the mountains near Saratoga. Thousands of British soldiers waited there, preparing to swoop down the Hudson, cut off New England from the other states, and end the rebellion. Trumbull cared not for beating the British or freeing the country from the King. He cared only for the sound of coins clinking together. With my own eyes, I saw him steal gunpowder and rum and salt from the barrels we hauled. He'd filch anything he could sell for his own profit. 'Twas not his thieving from the army that bothered me. 'Twas his thieving from me. I'd been working for him for three months and had no coin to show for it. He charged me for the loan of a ragged blanket and for anything else he could think of so he never had to hand over my wages. The night before, I'd finally stood up to him and demanded my money. He fired me. Of course, I robbed him. You would have done the very same. I stole an assortment of spoons and four shoe buckles from his trunk after he fell asleep muddy in drink and snoring loud as a blasting bellows. I put my treasures in the leather bag that held Isabel's collection of seeds and her blue ribbon (both left behind in her haste to flee from my noxious self). The leather bag went into my empty haversack, which I slipped over my shoulder as I crawled out of Trumbull's tent. I had walked for hours in the dark, quite certain that I'd stumble upon the road within moments. The rising sun burned through the fog but did not illuminate any road for me, not even a path well worn by deer or porcupines. I climbed up a long hill, stopping at the top to retie the twine that held my shoes together. (Should have stolen Trumbull's boots, too.) I turned in a full circle. Most of the forest had leafed yellow, with a few trees bold-cloaked in scarlet or orange. No road. Had I been in my natural environment--the cobbled streets of Boston or New York--I could have easily found my way by asking a cartman or an oyster seller. Not so in this forest. I headed down into a deep ravine, swatting at the hornets that buzzed round my hat. The ravine might lead to the river, and a river was as good as a road, only wetter. Because I was the master of my own mind, I did not allow myself to believe that I might be lost. Nor did I worry about prowling redcoats or rebel soldiers eager to shoot. But the wolves haunted me. They'd dug up the graves of the fellows killed in last month's battle at Freeman's Farm and eaten the bodies. They'd eat a living man, too. A skinny lad like myself wouldn't last a minute if they attacked. I picked my way through the brush at the bottom of the ravine, keeping my eyes on the ground for any sight of paw prints. Crrr-ack. I stopped. Gunfire? Not possible. I was almost certain that I was well south of the dangerous bit of ground that lay between the two armies. Crrr-ack. Heavy boots crashed through the forest. Voices shouted. Crrr-ack BOOM! An angry hornet hissed past my ear and smacked into the tree trunk behind me with a low thuuump. I froze. That was no hornet. 'Twas a musketball that near tore off my head. The voices grew louder. There was no time to run. I dropped to the ground and hid myself behind a log. A British redcoat appeared out of a tangle of underbrush a dozen paces ahead of me and scrambled up the far side of the ravine. Three more British soldiers followed close on his heels, hands on their tall hats to keep them from flying off, canteens and cartridge boxes bouncing hard against their backsides. There was a flash and another Crrr-ack BOOM. A dozen rebel soldiers appeared, half in hunting shirts, the rest looking like they just stepped away from their plows. Smoke still poured from the barrel of the gun held by a red-haired fellow with an officer's black ribbon pinned to his hat. There was a loud shuffling above. A line of redcoats took their position at the edge of the ravine and aimed down at the rebels. "Present!" the British officer screamed to his men. "Present!" yelled the American officer. His men brought the butts of their muskets up to their shoulders and sighted down the long barrels, ready to shoot and kill. I pressed my face into the earth, unable to plan a course of escape. My mind would not be mastered and thought only of the wretched, lying, foul, silly girl who was the cause of everything. I thought of Isabel and I missed her. "FIRE!" © 2010 Laurie Halse Anderson Excerpted from Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.