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The Sunbird (The Lion Hunters #3)

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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  257 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Telemakos is the grandson of two noble men: Kidane, member of the parliament in the African kingdom of Aksum, and Artos, the fallen High King of Britain. Telemakos is also an exceptional listener and tracker, resolute and inventive in his ability to discover and retain information. Now his aunt Goewin, the British ambassador to Aksum, needs his skill. Plague has come to Br ...more
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published April 12th 2004 by Viking Juvenile
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Kim (magicsandwiches) Lawyer
Megan Whalen Turner was once asked if there was one book she evangelized and she replied, "The Sunbird by Elizabeth Wein." After reading it, I know why.

My favorite of the Lion Hunter's series, The Sunbird is an amazing adventure story told through the eyes of Telemakos, an intelligent and nimble eleven year old boy. As a member of the royal household and one who often roams the palace freely, Telemakos fades into the background as a natural part of the landscape. Because no one takes notice of h
...more
Katie Montgomery
SERIOUSLY WEIN WHY ARE YOU SUCH A BADASS.
Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)
Jan 13, 2013 Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) by: Chachic
Third book in the series and could not put it down. Would not have thought the tale of an eleven year old boy would draw me in like this one did. But of course it is the continuation of a fascinating story, and I am already drawn into the lives around him. These books are very roughly based on the Arthur legend, particularly Mordred although he has a different name in these and is called Medraut. He also has a far different role in the story that began in The Winter Prince where the tense and an ...more
Nikki
I think I liked The Sunbird best of the series so far. It goes even further from Arthurian myth -- the only character from the Arthurian canon is Medraut -- but in the process makes an enchanting narrative. Young Telemakos is growing up and showing all signs of inheriting his father's ability to stalk prey, but he uses his skills politically.

The story of his search for the figure called the Lazarus, and what happens to him there, are compelling. The darkness from the other stories remains here.
...more
TheBookSmugglers
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

The Sunbird is the third book in Elizabeth Wein’s Arthurian/Aksumite cycle of stories which follows the descendants of King Artos of Britain and their lives in sixth century Aksum, Africa (present-day Ethiopia). Although part of an ongoing series, The Sunbird can definitely be read as a standalone (although I did have a few questions about previous happenings in the series, the most urgent one being: how and why exactly did the descendants of King Arth
...more
Chachic
Read this again for EWein Special Ops. It was just as good as I remembered. I was still afraid for Telemakos even though I already knew what was going to happen.

EWein Special Ops

___________________

2010 review: Originally posted here.

Ms. Wein blends Arthurian legend and sixth century Ethiopian history in her books. Telemakos, the main protagonist of this book, is the son of Medraut (Mordred, Arthur's son). If you're a fan of Arthurian novels, I definitely recommend Ms. Wein's novels. But even if you aren't, I st
...more
Rachel Neumeier
Not the first in the series, but it stands alone and it's my favorite (though I like them all). Ordinarily I think doing any kind of spin on the Arthurian legend is a bad idea, but Elizabeth Wein can handle it -- and anyway, The Sunbird is pretty far removed from the legend.

The writing is superb, Telemakos is one of my all-time favorite YA protagonists, the setting -- the African kingdom of Aksum -- is fabulous. But there is some grim, grim, grim violence in this book, some of the worst I've eve
...more
Liviania
The first three books of the Lion Hunters series switch focus between three members of a family: Medraut, then his legitimate half-sister Goewin, and then his son Telemekos. This means that although the books build on each other, they also stand fairly well on their own. (The last two books focus on Telemekos and should be read as a duology.)

THE SUNBIRD first came out in 2004, and in some ways feels dated despite only being ten years old. It is very short compared to most current YA novels, alt
...more
Sherwood Smith
Intense, spare and vivid, this story builds, with subtle characterizations, and some sharply dramatic and painful moments.

I've recommended it to readers who like Megan Whalen Turner's work, and heard back that this was a successful pairing.
Nastya Andreyevna
CONFOUND YOUR AMAZINGNESS MEDRAUT TELEMAKOS YOU CANNOT HIJACK MY LIFE LIKE THIS AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGGGGG$&@*$&&&&&&$8@@:$2834828:&;!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Maureen E
I think the most important thing to say about these books is that they’re not The Winter Prince. They certainly build off of that story, and I would most definitely read it first. But The Winter Prince is one of those books that I don’t think you could write a real sequel to. Nonetheles, A Coalition of Lions and The Sunbird are both fascinating and well-written. Telemakos is a wonderful character who’s reminding me more and more of Megan Whalen Turner’s Gen. I’ve got the next one ordered and I c ...more
Jess
This is the third in a loose series - following The Winter Prince and A Coalition of Lions. I say loose because while many characters repeat from book to book, and each one resolves but leaves you hanging a bit, like a good series, each one is unique in plot and mood. These are no cookie-cutter series titles, but filled with well-developed characters, intrigue, and fascinating settings. By this book, the story has moved fairly far from the Arthurian legend roots of The Winter Prince, but a few o ...more
Joy
I can't figure out if I should label these as "Arthurian" now that we're so far removed from the original legend. I found this to be an improvement on A Coalition of Lions, but still lacking the tense focus of The Winter Prince. Telemakos here, and Goewin in the previous book, both lack the foil that Medraut had in Lleu. I liked how the Odyssey themes were played here, but wished here was more focus on Telemakos as himself rather than Telemakos has his father's son and aunt's nephew.

Re-read 8/1/
...more
ambyr
Wein's writing as always is lovely. In this particular case, that talent is used to lovingly describe the protagonist's wounds, down to every last bleeding scratch and emotional trauma. Almost as many pages are devoted to those wounds--and to the way the protagonist's family coo, cluck, and weep over them--as to the plot.

In short, this is hurt/comfort through and through. And while there is nothing wrong with h/c as a genre, it is profoundly not my genre of choice.

I did quite like the beginning
...more
Karen Healey
This is a *really excellent* book, so I point out once again that the star rating relates only to how much I like something, not how good it is.

Because it's really good! The plot is excellent! The setting is fantastic! The writing is technically proficient! The style suits the subject matter! The characters are really believable!

The character torture is sickening and it made me feel physically ill.

So if you are not a wimp like me and you can handle really very awful things happening to child pro
...more
Mary
Wow! Young Telemakos is an absolutely amazing character, and Wein is an amazing writer. She packs such emotional, moral, and social complexity into this brief book. If you like historical fantasy in the Megan Whalen Turner or Hilari Bell mold, you must read these books! However, although the main character is a child, there are some really harsh scenes here - scenes I had trouble reading. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone below 12 or 13. Adults who give the series a chance may get a lot out of i ...more
Amanda
I received a copy of Sunbird via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I didn't realize that this book was the third in a series when I requested it. Still, not wanting to put off reading it any longer I forged ahead. The book grabbed my attention immediately and didn't let up until the very end. It was fascinating and heartbreaking, with vivid descriptions of an early, almost fantastical Africa and its inhabitants.
Telemakos is the kind of character that I expect in any book written by Eli
...more
Courtney Schafer
Third in the Lion Hunters series, this is the start of three books featuring Telemakos, the half-British, half-Aksumite son of Medraut (Mordred). I'd heard Telemakos was reminiscent of Gen in Megan Whalen Turner's novels, and it's indeed true that Telemakos shares Gen's cleverness, his loyalty, and his ability to capitalize on his enemies (and his friends!) tendencies to underestimate him. Yet he is very much his own character, thoughtful rather than snarky, and in some ways more clear-sighted t ...more
Hoolie
Compelling mix of Anglo African legends. Kingdom politics young spy trials and hardship, self awareness and honor make better stories than 2.5h of listening to Scar-Jo pretend to have a high IQ in Her.

Bottom-line: Gen in Africa for The Thief fans.
Allison
I think that this was my favorite book in this series by Elizabeth Wein. This is book 3/3 of the first series of the which actually continues with two more books that you can read separately (which I did but then I found out about the first three and went back to read them). Great story...kept me turning the pages. Fun to learn about 6th century Ethiopia!
Alyssa
After reading that The Sunbird was one of the books that inspired Megan Whalen Turner's books I had to read it. The complex court system and a smart protagonist are just several similarities that I found and enjoyed between these two authors stories. Each character that has a role in this book is important and adds to the overall story. I must admit that I have not read the first two books, (don't worry it is on my list!), but I don't believe that much was lost in my understanding of this book. ...more
Rachel Brown
Telemakos, a brilliant boy – but still a boy – volunteers for an absolutely harrowing spy mission in ancient Aksum (modern Ethiopia). It’s a great story, but very intense and angsty, the more so because Telemakos is so young.
Sara
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sara Bean
Excellent, terrific, wonderful, amazing, etc. I didn't know until recently that there were sequels to The Winter Prince, but I was so happy to discover this one.
June
A great if somewhat harsh adventure story where the young protaganist becomes a spy to discover who is spreading plague in the kingdom. He is captured and tortured.
Helen
This was an interesting book. It opened my eyes to a different world, and to me that's a valuable thing. I enjoyed reading it.
Diana
This trilogy was just astounding. Gorgeous writing and original plot.
elissa
Sep 20, 2007 elissa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ya fantasy fans
Hauntingly beautiful writing. One of my favorite 2005 titles.
Jessica
I didn't know this was part of a series before I started reading it. It is the third book in The Lion Hunter's book series, but I read this book only and I'm satisfied that it could be read as a stand-alone. Telemakos is a young prince of mixed race. His father is English and his mother is African. Thus, Telemakos has the dark skin of his mother but the blond hair and blue eyes of his father. Because of his appearance, others consider him a freak, but Telemakos is very good at blending into his ...more
Althea Ann
The third in Wein's ‘Aksum' trilogy, this works perfectly well as a stand-alone novel. In these books, Wein mixes the history of Greek legend with Ethiopian history, creating an interesting and unusual milieu.
Telemakos, named after the son of Odysseus, is a half-Greek, half-Ethiopian boy, grandson of the Aksumite king, and nephew of the British princess, Goewin, who is the ambassador to Aksum (Ethiopia). Regardless of his unusual appearance, which sets him apart, Telemakos learns to hide and spy
...more
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“That would be a slow and cruel death," said Gebe Meskal quietly. "He may survive a week on such a regime, but so little of a skin is not sufficient water for a man laboring in the desert."

Telemakos said through his teeth, "It is for a child.”
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“Follow them," said Goewin, "and listen."

So he did.”
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