The Firebird by Sophie Masson
The Firebird is a story made up of a range of Russian folklore, from the gnome-like 'leshis' to the greedy tsar to the Firebird itself. It reads like a fleshed-out fairytale, and contains much of the imagery and themes associated with such stories — everything from the persecuted younger brother to the quest narrative to the malevolent ruler of the land to the magical helpers and objects. For this reason, the story may sound rather predictable (and often it is), but as Russian folktales are not often delved into by Western writers, it is worth tracking down for a read.
Ivan is the youngest son of Tsar Demyan, and bullied by his two elder brothers, the brutal Yuri and the sly Igor. Tsar Demyan has the greatest garden in all the world, the centrepiece of which is the apple tree from Avalon on which grows a single golden apple. This apple is said to give the one wh... Read More
Sophie Masson(1959- )
Sophie Masson is an Australian author and some of her works are not available in other countries. Learn about her other novels at Sophie Masson’s website. Learn more about the Thomas Trew series for children at the Thomas Trew blog.
The Firebird by Sophie Masson
Fairy Tale Trio — (1996-1999) Young adult re-tellings of Puss-in-Boots, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. Serafin was published as Carabas, and Malkin was published as Cold Iron outside the US.
Lay Lines — (1998-2000) For adults. An omnibus edition called The Forest of Dreams is available. Publisher: The Lay Lines Trilogy is centred around the life and work of the 12th century French poet, Marie de France, who wrote a number of wonderful lays, or narrative poems, about love and magic, werewolves and fairy lovers, jealousy, murder and humour. The Knight by the Pool begins when Marie is still the young wife of an elderly Breton lord, and when she has an encounter with a strange otherwordly knight in the forest, who tells her her fate. Later, newly widowed, she goes of to France, back to her ancestral lands, when she meets Richard the Lionheart… Many complications ensue, not the least being that nothing in Marie’s past is resolved, and as events begin to rapidly develop, and danger looms, she must show just what she is made of! And what her serving-knight, the silent, mysterious Welshman Llew ap Gruffydd, is also made of…
El Jisel — (2004-2006) Young adult. Publisher: On the island of Jayangan, old beliefs and magic exist side by side with new pop songs and motorcycles… Adi is a fisherman’s son, proud to be studying with the greatest of traditional sword makers. Dewi is the daughter of a healer, curious about the world beyond her quiet village. Neither Adi nor Dewi is prepared for the sudden violence that transforms their lives. Both are propelled into an epic battle in which even the mystical spirits of Jayangan are threatened and helpless. Charged with a desperate quest to find the mysterious Snow, Fire, and Sword, Adi and Dewi know only that if they fail, their beloved homeland will fall to an evil shrouded in impenetrable darkness. Can two children of the modern world succeed where the most powerful and ancient spirits cannot? Set against the backdrop of a mythic Indonesia, Sophie Masson’s gripping fantasy will leave readers breathless.
Thomas Trew — (2006-2007) Ages 9-12. Publisher: Everyone thinks 10-year-old Thomas Trew is weird: neighbours, other kids, even his own dad. Thomas doesn’t really mind. It’s been like that ever since he can remember. Then one day there’s a dwarf in his house, and his life changes forever. Thomas is summoned to the Hidden World — a magical place responsible for dreams, music, and imagination in the Obvious World (the human world). Extraordinary adventures await Thomas and his shape-shifter friends, caught up in the unpredictable rivalries between the different races of this world. He soon discovers his true talents and emerges as a Rymer, able to take his place as a link between the worlds of imagination and magic and the everyday. Thomas comes to understand both, and his ‘weirdness’ becomes greatness indeed.
The Tempestuous Voyage of Hopewell Shakepeare — (2003) Young adult. Publisher: Hopewell Shakespeare, a young apprentice in London, is bored with his lot and besotted with the Globe, where his distant cousin, William, is already famous. William’s plays fuel Hopewell’s fantasies of love, glamour and fortune beyond the confines of London; he joins the crew of a notorious buccaneer, Captain Richard Wolfe whose ship the Golden Dragon is embarking on a search for the legendary Lost Island ruled by the Lord of Alchemists. But Hopewell is soon uneasy with the second mate Davy Jones and the waif-like ship’s boy Kit Sly, and is beset with strange visions of a beautiful woman and predictions of a White Ship. When the Golden Dragon – ever a pirate ship – pursues and is wrecked by just such a white ship, Hopewell seems to be the sole survivor, and is cast up on an idyllic island inhabited only by an elderly scholar Dr Prosper Bonaventure, a girl, Flora, and her goat, Caprice. This is a place of illusion and transformation, where doors open on to the places of one’s innermost dreams. But who from the wreck is truly lost, and who has survived? What is real and what is illusion? Who is evil and who is good? Who is boy and who is girl? And which is the true Lord of Alchemists who manipulates them all? As Hopewell struggles through the twists and turns of the enchanted world, the scales begin to fall from his eyes…
In Hollow Lands — (2004) Young adult. Publisher: When twins Tiphaine and Gromer are lured from their peaceful home into the strange world of the magical korrigans it is the beginning of an extraordinary adventure. How will they break the spell of their enchantment and how are they connected to Bertrand du Guesclin, fighting against the English?
Malvolio’s Revenge — (2005) Young adult. Author’s website: A novel in three acts! It is Christmas Eve 1910, and in the drenched Louisiana countryside, a band of travelling players is struggling to try and find shelter in a massive downpour of rain. They have been trying to tour a once-famous play, Malvolio’s Revenge, a continuation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, in the glittering city of New Orleans but have had all the theatre doors closed on them; and have attempted to put the play on in the countryside, but have been gulled and swindled at every turn. Then, around the bend of a road, they literally fall over the gatepost of what looks like a derelict plantation mansion, called ‘Illyria’…Only two people are left in Illyria, an old black woman with strange green eyes, called Marie Laroche, and her charge, the last of an old aristocratic French Creole family, the beautiful, confident 16 year old Isabelle de Casteljaloux. They make the players very welcome, and soon propose them a strange but very tempting bargain: they will gain them entry into a New Orleans theatre, in return for going along with the company, and taking part in the staging of Malvolio’s Revenge: but in disguise! And so the stage is set for a wild, fun ride into a dark secret, adventure, comedy, and romance…in an atmosphere redolent of old New Orleans, in the exciting beginning of the jazz area!
The Madman of Venice — (2009) Publisher: The London home of Matthew Ashby is visited by the beautiful, famous half-Venetian musician, Emilia Lanier, begging him for help. A young Venetian girl, Sarah, has been accused of witchcraft by a wealthy merchant’s wife, and has since disappeared. Is she in hiding? Or worse — kidnapped or murdered? So with his daughter, Celia, and his clerk, Ned, Matthew Ashby sets off for Venice and into a greater mystery than could ever be imagined. They must draw on all their wits and ingenuity to find allies in unexpected places. When Master Ashby is kidnapped, Ned and Celia have to race against the clock to find him as well as Sarah — but nothing is as it seems, not least the mysterious Madman of Venice…
Moonlight and Ashes — (2012) Publisher: The story of Cinderella as you’ve never heard it before… A girl whose fortunes have plummeted from wealthy aristocrat to servant-girl. A magic hazel twig. A prince. A desperate escape from danger. This is not the story of a girl whose fairy godmother arranges her future for her. This is the story of Selena, who will take charge of her own destiny, and learn that her magic is not to be feared but celebrated. Pure fairytale — with all the romance, magic and adventure that goes along with it.