Torrie and the Firebird

Paperback | February 4, 2006

byK. JohansenIllustratorChristine Delezenne

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Torrie's back for more excitement.

The irrepressible Old Thing who narrated Torrie and the Pirate Queen returns in another amazing adventure. With spunky young captain Anna again at the helm, the (former) pirate ship Shrike sets sail for Keastipol, grandest of the city-states on the Great Southern Continent.

Our heroes have hardly set foot on shore before they encounter a boy fleeing an angry mob. Anna and Torrie rescue Kokako and embark on a dangerous quest to clear his name by finding the true thief of the Oyon -- a giant gem revered by the continent's inhabitants.

Their journey takes them through forest and desert where they face challenges both natural and supernatural: crocodiles, sand-goblins, and ...emus? On top of all this, Torrie and Anna must struggle with Kokako's would-be heroism and the unexpected appearance of a mysterious sorcerer. Torrie begins to there's more to both the Oyon and their unknown enemy than anybody realizes.

In the end, it takes all their efforts to defeat the sorcerer, prove Kokako's innocence, and uncover the mystery of the mythical Firebird, a magical being thought only to exist in legend.

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From the Publisher

Torrie's back for more excitement. The irrepressible Old Thing who narrated Torrie and the Pirate Queen returns in another amazing adventure. With spunky young captain Anna again at the helm, the (former) pirate ship Shrike sets sail for Keastipol, grandest of the city-states on the Great Southern Continent. Our heroes have har...

K.V. Johansen is the author of six novels for young people and the Pippin and Mabel series of picture books. She lives in Sackville, New Brunswick. Christine Delezenne is the illustrator of a popular series of junior novels. She lives in Montreal. by K.V. Johansen and illustrated by Christine Delezenne

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:195 pages, 7.75 × 5 × 0.5 inPublished:February 4, 2006Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1550379607

ISBN - 13:9781550379600

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

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Chapter One In which Kokako meets some goblins If you recall, I promised to tell you the story of the adventure I had on the Great Southern Continent, when I sailed there with Anna. Although she was quite young, as humans go, Anna was a master mariner, captain of the Shrike, which used to be a pirate ship but wasn't anymore. Anna didn't expect anything very exciting to happen on that voyage. She was going to sell the salt fish she had in her hold from the retired pirates' last fishing expedition, and buy trees for our friend Prince Frederik of the Granite Isles, so that he could plant new forests on his barren kingdom. Simple. But, you're probably thinking, not very exciting. I thought so, too. I was still in a mood for adventure when we sailed to the Great Southern Continent, and luckily, I still had that itchy, fidgety feeling in my feet, which told me something interesting was about to happen. Almost as soon as we tied up at a wharf in the great, bustling harbor of the city of Keastipol, something interesting did happen. Anna and I weren't there for the start of it all, though we came into it later. In the very beginning, there was just a boy named Kokako, waking up in the night with a strange sound ringing in his ears. --- Kokako lay very still, straining to hear. The sound was gone, now. There was nothing disturbing the night but his own breathing. For a moment, though, he was sure he had heard something, a sound that was both very large, and very quiet, like a giant's sigh. He must have heard something, he told himself, or he wouldn't have woken up. And since he was the only person who slept in the building called the Oyon-Sbrine, which was a bit like a shrine or holy place and a bit like a museum, high on a hill overlooking the city of Keastipol, it was up to him to investigate. Carefully, Kokako felt around until he found his tunic and his sandals. If there were someone out in the main hall, a thief or even just a stray dingo dog, he didn't want to run into anyone wearing only his drawers. It's hard to feel brave and bold wearing nothing but your underwear. Kokako's bed was a cot in one of the little back storerooms of the Oyon-Shrine, but he didn't mind. During the day, the Oyon-Shrine was filled with visitors who came from all the cities of the Great Southern Continent, but at night, when the other servants went home to their houses in the city, it became his own private palace. Nobody else could say that. The Oyon-Shrine truly was one of the most beautiful buildings in the whole world. You reached it by climbing uphill on a broad flight of stairs and then entering a porch of many pillars, all in white marble. If you looked up before you went in, you saw carved scenes from history scenes of warriors fighting and towers burning, as the seventy cities of the Great Southern Continent fought one another in their terrible wars, which usually started over some fairly pointless argument. In the past, there had been wars about whether the sky was blue or azure (which means "sky blue"), wars about whose mountains were higher, wars about which city was the first to make some important discovery or was the best at some art or grew the best grapes or raised the best sheep. Then, in the carvings, you'd see the appearance of the woman they called Tero Korax the Wanderer, a foreign minstrel always shown with a harp slung over her shoulder and two feathers stuck in her hair. She was the one who had formed the first Parliament of Seventy, to which each city had sent one magistrate a magistrate is a person rather like a judge. The Parliament was supposed to settle arguments between the cities without war. Most importantly, there were carvings showing Tero Korax the Wanderer giving the Seventy Magistrates the Oyon. This was a large gemstone, an opal so big even a grown man would need both hands to carry it, milky white and shimmering with streaks and flecks of orange and scarlet and green. In old poetry and history books it was actually called the Oyon Opalizon. Kokako liked the sound of the old words, rich and thick like honey in your mouth, mysterious and opal-y, but nobody used the proper name anymore, not even the oldest of the magistrates. The Oyon didn't do anything. It just sat on an altar in the Oyon-Shrine, a symbol of the peace between the cities that had by then lasted for a hundred years. People believed that so long as the Oyon was safe in the Oyon-Shrine, the Great Southern Continent would go on having peace. it wasn't that easy, of course. Many times they came to the brink of war. Magistrates shouted and screamed and punched one another in the Parliament, and stormed off home vowing never to come back. But they always did, and war never quite happened, because everybody knew that the Oyon stood for peace. It reminded them to try a bit harder. Inside, the main hall of the Oyon-Shrine was a vast, cool, dimly pale space, with white marble floors, marble walls, more marble pillars, and even a marble roof. Thin sheets of translucent stone let in a bright glow by day, and at night the moon washed it in the faintest misty light. In the center of this echoing space was the altar (marble, of course). It was decorated with scented branches cut from groves of different kinds of eucalypt or gum trees that grew around the Oyon-Shrine. On the altar was the Oyon itself. In the evenings, when all the visitors had gone, Kokako would sometimes sit with his back against the altar, reading the books of travel and adventure he borrowed from the library. He read the best bits, especially by his favorite author, the explorer Annapurna Khanum, out loud to Jix, his parrot, who sat on his shoulder making hoarse chuckling noises from time to time. He always felt as though the Oyon were listening, too. The big oval opal had always seemed, to Kokako, like something alive. But that was only when there was no one around. During the busy day he was just the sweeper, the lowest of all the servants. It was his job to sweep the polished marble floor, chasing out all the dust that the dozens, even hundreds, of visitors tracked in every day. Even Delena, the pretty girl who dusted the corners for spiders, thought she was better than Kokako. Someday, though, Kokako was going to do more. He would be a scientist and go off on long journeys of exploration and teach at the academy, as his mother had done. He could hardly remember those long-ago days. She and his father, a sailor from the eastern island kingdom of Whenualand, had been lost at sea in a typhoon, leaving Kokako and his grandmother all alone in Keastipol. After his grandmother died, there was no one to look after him at all. He knew he was really very lucky to have a job as a sweeper, but there was no way he was going to stay a sweeper all his life. Although capturing a burglar wasn't science, it would be a good start to a life of adventure. In case the noise actually was a burglar, or worse, burglars, Kokako woke up Jix, too. It's also a lot easier to be brave when you have company. Jix grumbled and kept his eyes shut, but he dug his claws into Kokako's shoulder and hung on. Without even the faintest glimmer of moonlight to see by, Kokako crept along a low-ceilinged, windowless passage and edged out into the main hall of the Oyon-Shrine. There, he could see, once his eyes adjusted. The vast space was lit by pearly moonlight coming through the thin, cloudy stone of the roof. The pillars loomed out of the thick shadows like a forest of white-barked ghost-gum trees. Kokako could see several dark shapes standing between him and the altar, where there shouldn't be any dark shapes at all. Behind the shapes, he could just make out the dim sheen of the Oyon, like a second moon. Then one of the dark shapes moved, turning its head to look directly at Kokako. It had red, glowing eyes. Jix, who was peeking with his eyes half-open, gave a startled squawk and flew off into the shadows. Kokako stopped breathing. The eyes continued to glare scarlet and

Table of Contents

    Glossary of People, Places, Things, and Old Things

  1. In which Kokako meets some goblins
  2. In which we rescue Kokako
  3. In which Mirimick's laundry comes in handy
  4. In which crocodiles don't keep promises
  5. In which one of us disappears
  6. In which Kokako asks some questions
  7. Which is very windy
  8. In which Kokako meets a stranger
  9. Which is about the salt lake, sand-goblins and Wind Dancers
  10. In which Kokako enters the sorcerer's lair
  11. In which we get very wet
  12. In which we get even wetter
  13. In which Keastipol is besieged
  14. In which the Firebird sings
  15. The Great Southern Continent: A note for the curious

Editorial Reviews

Torrie and the Firebird is the third book of K.V. Johansen's Torrie fantasy novels for young readers. Through her spine-tingling and enchanted tale, Johansen imprisons readers' attention and entices them into yet another one of her nail-biting adventures. Johansen enthralls readers and keeps them entranced as Kokako faces one obstacle after another. The author takes readers on an exciting adventure filled with humour and unexpected turns of events that keep them entertained. This book is a must-read for all fantasy readers, and Johansen organizes the book by including black and white illustrations, plus a glossary and map, to assist readers in better understanding the magical escapade. Highly Recommended.