Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis

This is a story within a story, within a story. It is a thrice told tale. It reads like a fairy tale or folk tale from India. There are many references to Hindu gods and customs as well as some Buddhist references. It is lyrically written, beautiful soaring language that paints vivid pictures in one's mind. A beautiful Young Woman has been betrothed to a violent, manipulative powerful man. She will be his eighth wife and must be perfect. She knows that on their wedding night he will find out that she is not and kill her. Shortly after she is brought to his harem to await the wedding, the man becomes ill. The girl spends her time waiting for her inevitable death in a courtyard from which she cannot escape. While there she meets a young slave. They enjoy each other's company. She begins to spin a tale of a young trickster/thief boy born into poverty who will become a hero when he rescues a captured princess from a tower in a town across the desert. It is the same tale she is living with some changes to make the telling better. Fahrad, the hero of the story in turn tells the story of his attempt to rescue the princess, riding on the back of a sacred white tiger with blue eyes. Fahrad must find a bloodstone and present it to the chief servant of the rich merchant who held the princess captive. Once he succeeds the servant will help Fahrad and the princess escape. Fahrad is stalked and thwarted at every turn by a stranger who is perhaps French or German or something else, which keeps the story exciting and fast moving. He and the white tiger have a wonderful, relationship both wise and funny. The ending is a mix of tragedy and success. Perhaps a high school girl who loves romance and lovely writing can appreciate this book as much as I did. But, I think this story will have a hard time finding readers. JDW 12/17/09

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