Forge

In this compelling sequel to Chains, the perspective shifts from Isabel to Curzon and we learn what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in the midst of the chaos of the American Revolution.

In the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter, Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of being discovered as an escaped slave passing for free. Isabel 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.


… for many readers it will be one of the best novels they have ever read.

—Kirkus


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.

—Publishers Weekly

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    Reviews & Awards

     

    • Junior Library Guild Selection
    • Kirkus Best Book for Teens: Historical Novels 2010
    • The Horn Book Fanfare List Best Book of 2010
    • YALSA 2011 Best Books for Young Adults
    • “Are any of you still wondering whether there is some let-down in this middle book of the trilogy? Ha! With Laurie Halse Anderson in command? Not on your life! ” —Richie's Picks

    • “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)” —Kirkus, starred 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.) Publishers Weekly, starred 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. ” —(Oct.) Horn Book, starred review
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