Beneath the Mask (fiction)

How far would you go to protect your friends? Would you learn to fight, learn to kill, learn the secrets of those who enslaved you?

Once again we travel back to Grassland, the ancient place that evokes pre-Roman Britain and seafaring raiders.

Koriko, Bran, and Thief suddenly must decide if they’ll become as tough and brutal as the Spears who kidnapped them from their families – or be separated from Pippa, Feelah, and Tia forever.

Adventure, peril, and visions – these strong young men and women must face them together or risk losing the family ties that they’ve created.

This second volume of Ward’s Grassland Trilogy answers some questions raised in Escape the Mask , but the young people will face invaders, mysteries and concerns aplenty in Beyond the Mask (#3).

Book info: Beneath the Mask / David Ward. (Grassland Trilogy #2) Amulet, 2009. [author’s website] [publisher site]

Recommendation: After escaping from the cave-prison of Grassland, Coriko and his friends plan for a new life, away from the Spears who guarded them. Tia is oldest and a strong leader, Pippa has visions and a healing touch.

The group works to secretly repair a small sailboat near the shore without alerting the remaining Spears who spy on them from the mountain. But avoiding the Strays who had left the group to raid the burned Spear villages leads them into a trap. Now the Spears separate the girls from the boys, forcing the boys to learn to fight with shields and knives…or to die trying.

If Coriko, Thief, and Bran ever want to see Pippa, Feelah, and Tia again, they must become ferocious fighters. They must wear the iron masks of the Spears. They must learn to sail and row the large ships. They must help kidnap small children, just like the Spears stole them from their families and their villages when they were young.

Will the boys become Spears in their hearts as well? What is happening to the girls while the boys are training, training, training? Will the group ever escape from the Spears?

This is the second book in The Grassland Trilogy and promises an exciting conclusion in book 3: Beyond the Mask! (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

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