I think it’s because I now work so much that it’s been taking me so long to finish books.
Wings of Dawn is about a young boy named Thomas who grew up in a monastery in small part of England. Until he was eleven, he was looked after and taught endlessly by his loving nurse, Sarah, who gives him knowledge of science, history, anatomy, and language. Thomas is taught to read and learns that books are the greatest treasure in the world. As he grows, however, he is also taught that all of this knowledge is for a purpose: one day, he will have to go to a kingdom called Magnus and conquer it from it’s reigning lords- who killed Sarah’s parents, the previous rulers of Magnus.
When Thomas is eleven, Sarah dies, and he is left to his own devices in that little monastery with three corrupt monks his only companions. Finally, when he is fourteen, he decides that he’s ready, but he can’t go alone. Though Magnus is a great walled fortress, impossible to win with an army of the king’s best men, Sarah has told Thomas that he can take it with only one knight. He finds this knight on the gallows, about to be hanged for thievery alongside a grimy little pickpocket and a mysterious deaf and mute girl. Using a magnificent trick, Thomas frees the knight and is about to be on his way when a strange old man tells him to take the other two as well, for they will ensure him safe passage into Magnus.
I have a history with this book. I first picked it up to read in sixth grade- it’s a YA novel, according to placement in the library, but I can’t imagine any person younger than fifteen being able to read and fully understand everything that happens on these pages. Regardless, I borrowed again a year later- I was twelve or thirteen- and finished it, and passed it on to my brother and sister. But we’re all quite precocious.
This is the sort of book I don’t expect to like. I think my initial attraction to it was a visual thing- it’s a very thick book in tones of dark blue and purple, and always stood out amongst the other, more reasonable-looking YA books. Kings, spies, knights in shining armor- they’re not really my thing. Yet at the tender age of twelve-or-thirteen, I read all 432 pages of this book and have never really forgotten it.
It’s also one of those annoying books where you know way more than any of the characters- thanks to third person omnicience- you know exactly where everyone stands while for 400 pages everyone is going, “WHERE DOES HE STAND?!” and it’s frustrating but also fantastic. The book is obscure- Winthrop is the only library in Maine that has it- but wonderful.