Catalogue


The astonishing life of Octavian Nothing, traitor to the nation. v. #2 The kingdom on the waves /
taken from accounts by his own hand and other sundry sources ; collected by M.T. Anderson of Boston.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2008.
description
561 p. : maps ; 24 cm.
ISBN
9780763629502 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2008.
isbn
9780763629502 (hardcover : alk. paper)
abstract
After escaping a death sentence in the summer of 1775, Octavian and his tutor find shelter but no safe harbor in British-occupied Boston and, persuaded by Lord Dunmore's proclamation offering freedom to slaves who join his counterrevolutionary Royal Ethiopian Regiment, Octavian and his friends soon find themselves engaged in naval raids on the Virginia coastline as the Revolutionary War breaks out in full force.
catalogue key
6703456
A Look Inside
First Chapter
The rain poured from the heavens as we fled across the mud-flats, that scene of desolation; it soaked through our clothes and bit at the skin with its chill. It fell hard and ceaseless from the heavens as the deluge that had both inundated Deucalion and buoyed up Noah; and as with that deluge, we knew not whether it fell as an admonition for our sins or as the promise of a brighter, newly washed morning to come.

I left all that I knew behind me. Though the ways of the College of Lucidity were strange to the world and the habits of its academicians eccentric, they were familiar to me; and I traded them now for uncertainty and strife. Though I returned, indeed, to Boston, that town best known to me, its circumstances were changed, now that it was the seat of the King’s Army and sat silent and brooding in the Bay. We knew not what we would find therein.

Dr. Trefusis and I stumbled across the ribbed sand. Treading through seaweed mounded in pools, we slithered and groped, that we might retain our footing; and on occasions, we fell, Dr. Trefusis’s hands bleeding from the roughness of rock and incision of barnacles.

We wound through the meanders that led between stubbled mud-banks in no straight or seemly course. I pulled Dr. Trefusis out of the ditches where water still ran over the silt. We crawled over knolls usually submerged by the Bay. At some point, soaked, he shed his coat.

After a time, there was no feature but the sand, corrugated with the action of the tides. We made our way across a dismal plain, groping for detail, sight obscured.

But that morning I had been a prisoner, a metal mask upon my face, and my jowls larded with my own vomit, in a condition which could hardly have been more debased; but that morning I had watched the masters of my infancy and youth writhe upon the floor and fall into unpitied slumber, perhaps their bane. A sentence of death might already rest upon my head. The thought of this appeared fleetingly -- the memory of those bodies on the floor, bound with silken kerchiefs -- and at this, I found I could not breathe, and wished to run faster, that I might recover my breath.

Tumbling through the darkness of those flats, revolving such thoughts amidst utter indistinctness, I feared I would never again find myself; all I knew was lost and sundered from me; I knew not anymore what actuated me. We ran on through the night, across the sand, and it was as Dr. Trefusis had always avowed in his sparkish philosophy, that there was no form nor matter, that we acted our lives in an emptiness decorated with an empty show of substance, and a darkness infinite behind it.

Forms and figures loomed out of the rain: boulders in our path, gruesome as ogres to my susceptible wits, hulking, pocked and eyed with limpets, shaggy with weeds.

We came upon a capsized dinghy in the mud, mostly rotted, and barrels half-sunk. My aged companion now leaned upon my shoulder as we walked, his breath heavy in his chest.

Once, I started with terror at a ratcheting upon my foot, to find a horseshoe crab trundling past in search of a pool, its saber-tail and lobed armor grotesque in the extreme. Dr. Trefusis, wheezing, greeted it, "Old friend."

His amiability to the crab, I feared, was merely a pretense to stop our running. He did not seem well.

We could no longer detect the city, the night was so black, so full of water and motion, so unsparing was the drench. Our senses disorganized, our frames trembling with cold, we calculated as best we could the direction of our town and made our way across that countryside of dream.

Once I was shown by the scholars of the College a rock, spherical in shape, which, when chiseled open, revealed a tiny cavern of crystal; and they told me that these blunt stones often held such glories; that though some were filled only with dust, others, when broke open, enwombed the skeletons of dragons or of fis
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2008-08-25:
With an eye trained to the hypocrisies and conflicted loyalties of the American Revolution, Anderson resoundingly concludes the finely nuanced bildungsroman begun in his National Book Award-winning novel. Again comprised of Octavian's journals and a scattering of other documents, the book finds Octavian heading to Virginia in response to a proclamation made by Lord Dunmore, the colony's governor, who emancipates slaves in exchange for military service. Octavian's initial pride is short-lived, as he realizes that their liberation owes less to moral conviction than to political expediency. Disillusioned, facing other crises of conscience, Octavian's growth is apparent, if not always to himself: when he expresses doubt about having become any more a man, his mentor, Dr. Trefusis, assures him, "That is the great secret of men. We aim for manhood always and always fall short. But my boy, I have seen you at least reach half way." Made aware of freedom-fighters on both sides of the conflict (as well as heart-stopping acts of atrocity), readers who work through and embrace Anderson's use of historical parlance will be rewarded with a challenging perspective onAmerican history. Ages 14-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2008-12-09:
Anderson continues the Revolutionary War saga begun in the National Book Award-winning first volume, The Pox Party. This volume opens with the slave Octavian on the run with his former tutor, Dr. Trefusis. The two land in Boston and later flee the besieged city for Virginia, where Octavian joins Lord Dunmore's Ethiopian Regiment in the hopes of winning his freedom. In the regiment, a scourge of smallpox and lack of military readiness decimate the ranks. Why It Is a Best: Six starred reviews are not wrong; the author makes good on the promise of the first book. Octavian's chilling account of the death and deprivation around him and the pure injustice of his situation call into question the values on which our nation was founded. The ending, in particular, relies heavily on the reader's having read and remembered the first volume of the series, but more happens here. Why It Is for Us: Anderson's command of period language and mannerisms brings this time to life through the eyes of a completely unique yet almost archetypal character. Octavian began his journey as an intelligent young man and ends it as an enlightened and empowered (if no better off) one, writing his own story and place in history. The title says it all: astonishing.-Angelina Benedetti, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Horn Book Magazine,
Kirkus Reviews,
Booklist, June 2008
Publishers Weekly, August 2008
School Library Journal, September 2008
Chicago Tribune, October 2008
San Francisco Chronicle, October 2008
ForeWord Magazine, November 2008
Los Angeles Times, November 2008
Globe & Mail, December 2008
Library Journal, December 2008
Voice of Youth Advocates, December 2008
Guardian UK, January 2009
New York Times Full Text Review, October 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Table of Contents
Argument of the First Volumep. ix
The Theater of Warp. 1
The Kingdom on the Wavesp. 115
Motherlandp. 299
The House of the Strongp. 385
The Reasoning Enginep. 541
Tabula Rasap. 557
Author's Notep. 565
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem