Chiengli is a 13-year-old orphan boy who lives in China in 630 A.D. For many years he was cared for by “Old Cook” a family friend. When she gives him a strange piece of jade with mysterious writing on it, Chengli begins to hear a “ghost” wind calling him to the deserts his father, an inspector who was murdered, once traveled. He gains a job as a camel boy with a caravan that is charged with delivering the Emperor’s spoiled daughter, Princess Mei Ling to her groom. Along the way Chengli makes friends with another camel boy, Fourth Brother but when he discovers Fourth Brother has a dark secret, Chengli must make a difficult choice. As he struggles with what do to about Fourth Brother, the caravan is attacked by bandits and Princess Mei Ling is kidnapped. Vowing to protect his family’s honor, Chengli sets off on his own to rescue the princess, discovering that the harsh winds and heat of the desert aren’t the most dangerous things he must deal with. To find out if Chengli is able to rescue the princess and honor his mission read this adventurous historical fiction story.
This book surprised me and wasn’t my first choice of books to read. I don’t normally like historical fiction but the author included just the right amount of adventure and mystery, which I love, to keep me reading. Even though the story started out a little slow at the beginning, I was drawn in by the ways the characters changed as the story continued. I would recommend this book to kids in 5th, 6th, and 7th grade even if historical fiction isn’t their favorite. The adventure and mystery will keep them hooked to the end!
Madelyn Farley, 5th Grade