Crispin: The End of Time
The Crispin Books, book 3 of 3
Balzer + Bray, 2010
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audio book narrated by Ron Keith
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What’s this book about?
“As long as I could keep myself out of bondage, I would be true to Bear’s teaching. And so it was that beyond all else, I was determined to keep my freedom.”
After the death of their beloved mentor, Bear, Crispin, and Troth are more desperate than ever, wandering the desolate French countryside, where they don’t speak the language and know no one. The only hope they cling to is that somehow they can reach Iceland, where Bear had said there were no kings or lords, and where they can live in freedom. Crispin is determined to fulfill this dream, both for himself and to honor Bear’s memory. But the road to liberty is filled with danger, betrayal, and loss. Crispin must decide for himself what freedom really means—and how high a price he is willing to pay for it.
Story Behind the Story
It was one of those rare moments in my writing life: When I conceptualized writing the Crispin books, I envisioned a series of four books, each with a certain story. The fourth book was very much in my head. It would take place in Iceland, and beyond. Curiously, I even knew the last line of the final book.
First however, there was the third book to write, Crispin: The End of Time.
“Avi guides his hero toward a final, very satisfying destiny in this wonderfully realized conclusion to the Crispin trilogy. With Bear, their mentor and protector, dead, Crispin and the disfigured girl Troth wearily wander the French countryside. Finding refuge at a convent, the two ultimately make the wrenching decision to part when Troth decides to stay with the Sisters, comforted that she’ll never again be shunned for her appearance and having accepted her own destiny as a healer. Bereft of his only friend, Crispin eventually falls in with a band of traveling musicians, who, he finds out in increasingly suspenseful scenes, are murderous thieves who hold a terrified boy in thrall. The story of how he and the child, Owen, escape their clutches makes for a heart-stopping read. As in the other titles in the saga, characters and setting are expertly rendered. The ending is almost unbearably intense and leads to a deeply moving final scene in which Crispin learns that Bear will always be with him. Thrilling and beautifully wrought. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
“Still grieving for the fatherly protector they call Bear, Crispin and his friend Troth wander northward through the fourteenth-century French countryside in rags, begging for food and hoping to arrive in Iceland. They arrive at a convent where the nuns value Troth’s skill with healing herbs, and she decides to stay. Alone and near starvation, Crispin joins a troupe of traveling musicians who prove to be a band of murderous thieves. Discovering their plot against him strengthens Crispin’s determination to escape, to free their servant boy, and to make his way to Iceland. Crispin’s physical and emotional suffering magnified by the story’s almost unremitting tension, make this one of the less-romanticized medieval novels written for young people. Though the publisher states that the trilogy beginning with the Newbery-winning Crispin: The Cross of Lead (2002) ends here, the conclusion, which holds the promise of more adventures for Crispin, may not satisfy fans. Still, with necessary elements from the previous books related quickly, even readers new to the series will find this a compelling, first-person narrative.” (Booklist)
“Prolific storyteller Avi revisits the hero of his Newbery Medal winner, and this final volume in the Crispin trilogy showcases the same strengths as the earlier books: brisk, suspenseful narrative with effortlessly interwoven details of medieval life and provocative questions of ethics and morality. With their mentor, Bear, now dead, Crispin and Troth are left to make their way to Iceland, a place reportedly free from much of the strife of England and France. But when Troth’s skill with herbs finds her a home in a convent, Crispin must journey on alone. He joins a family of travelling musicians purportedly on their way to perform at a wedding in the port city of Calais. It’s a comfort to him that they speak his native language, but when their true natures as murderers, thieves, and kidnappers are revealed, Crispin must pull off a daring plan in order to escape them. It’s another rousing page-turner, and it’s sure to please fans of the series …” (The Horn Book)