Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Crispin #1)
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Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Crispin #1)

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3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  12,390 ratings  ·  1,288 reviews
"Asta's Son" is all he's ever been called. The lack of a name is appropriate, because he and his mother are but poor peasants in 14th century medieval England. But this thirteen-year-old boy who thought he had little to lose soon finds himself with even less - no home, no family, or possessions. Accused of a crime he did not commit, he may be killed on sight, by anyone. If...more
Hardcover, 262 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Disney-Hyperion (first published 2002)
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Greg
AVI2.0 Review: With warnings, gender changes, and a post script!

I just dawned on me that the stupid plot revealing subtitle is there because Avi means for this book to be the start of a series, and a quick check shows that there is a sequel.

Avi has a unique skill at flattening characters. Everyone pretty much sounds the same as every other character. ShHe also has a knack of making herhis characters unlikable. Not in the I hate them sort of way, but in the why do I give a (If you are under the...more
karen
i didnt hate it as much as greg did, but i know what he means about it being a little flat. i probably would have enjoyed this as maybe an 8 year old. is that too old - i dont remember what i was doing at 8, except i had unfortunate teeth. im not going to run right out and get the sequel to this or anything, but its a perfectly serviceable medieval tale of secret origins and poverty and swords.
Sandi
My sixth grade son made me read "Crispin: The Cross of Lead". He's a really advanced reader, but it's hard to get him involved in books. He'd rather play World of Warcraft or play his guitar. He couldn't put this book down and insisted that I read it.

I was surprised at the content of the book. Crispin is the bastard son of an outcast peasant woman who never shows him any affection. He doesn't even know his name until after his mother dies. The revelation of his name leads to the murder of the vi...more
Sarah
“Asta’s Son,” as he is called, is left to his own devices when his mother dies in 1377 in the tiny, poor English village of Stromford. He doesn’t have a family and knows nothing of his father. All his mother leaves him is a cross of lead that he carries with him as he flees his village when declared a “wolf’s head”—a person who can be killed on sight—for allegedly committing a crime. His priest, the one person he trusts, is murdered after trying to help and telling Asta’s Son his real name (whic...more
Ensiform
Winner of the 2003 Newbery, this historical novel is set in England, 1377. Crispin, an orphan peasant, is told by his village priest that there is a secret regarding his birth. But after stumbling upon the cruel village steward making a secret plan in the woods, Crispin is declared a “wolf’s head” – a non-person whom anyone may kill for a reward – and he is forced to flee. He comes upon Bear, a jester who secretly works to bring a worker’s revolution to England, and together they travel to the “...more
Sarah Sammis
Avi's books seem to be span all genres, the only thing that unites them is the intended audience, tweens. Crispin is somewhere in the range of fantasy and historical fiction, taking place in medieval Europe around the time of the plague. The story cover's Crispin's quest to learn the truth behind his birth after his mother's death.

While the book had it's moments, it didn't capture my imagination like Who Stole the Wizard of Oz? The book borrows heavily on the fantasy genre conventions and relies...more
Inspired Kathy
One of my good friends recommended this series to me and I was in the mood for a change of pace in what I was reading so I gave it a try. I thought this was well done middle grade historical fiction. I've read several other books by Avi and enjoy his writing. I felt like I learned a few things and was entertained along the way.

Overall a good book I would recommend to those who enjoy Historical Fiction.

Content: Clean
Qt
This was fast-paced and full of historical details; I found myself reading several chapters at a time and was really interested by it.
Maggie Maxfield
I know this is an award-winning book. Avi's historical fiction is exceptional -- even the metaphor and imagery in the book employ phrases consistent with the times. I feel when I read his historical fiction like I can connect all the historical dots. However, I got the feeling that some of Crispin's actions were not consistent with his character, and that Avi had him do them just to advance the plot. And that annoys me. For example, Crispin is painted as an ignorant kid who learns about his plac...more
NSAndrew Liebergen
The Cross of Lead is a very interesting book. I liked it, but I don’t know if it is for everyone. It is kind of a tired story line about being accused of a crime he didn’t commit, reminded me of the fugitive. His arch-enemy is John Aycliffe, who for some reason does not like Crispin. I found the English phrases interesting, such as the term Wolf’s Head, meaning that anyone who sees the boy can kill him. There is some mild violence of Father Quinel having is throat slashed while helping Crispin e...more
Rebecca Radnor
A mystery/coming of age story. A real page turner. I started reading it at midnight and next thing I knew it was 4am and I'd completely killed my sleep patterns. Really interesting story about a boy who is a serf, who is blamed by his Steward for crimes he did not commit -- apparently as an excuse to legally kill him. The boy runs away, meets a roving entertainer who will helps him (takes him on as his apprentice). The man, who at first doubts the boys story, but when it become clear that Stewar...more
Sarah Rosenberger
The boy everyone called "Asta's Son" lived with his outcast mother in a poor English village during the middle ages. For thirteen years, his life consisted of little more than praying, going to church, and trying not to starve, but when he is accused of a crime he didn't commit and forced to flee from his town, he quickly learns there is much more to the world than he ever dreamed...

I didn't love this, and am surprised it won the Newbery Award. The details were good, but authors like Tamora Pier...more
Edit Ostrom
What a great children's book! Although a fair warning: since it takes place in the Middle Ages, it has some historically appropriate, gruesome violence. The author does not dwell on it, but it's there. In spite of this, I would recommend the book for boys in middle grades, if they like adventure and history. Added to Catherine Called Birdie and Midwife's Apprentice, this book is a valuable addition to the Middle Ages historical fiction segment.

I really liked how the author created a language th...more
Wendy
I'd like to give this Newberry winner by Avi 3.5 stars but that's not an option. So, when forced to choose, I'll go with three. This is Avi's 50th book (amazing!) and is historical fiction based on research. Avi did research into the time period and one of the characters, John Ball, is based on a real person. At the end of the book Avi explains his interest in the period began in college when he read about the Peasants' Rebellion and a series of lectures he attended on the late Middle Ages. This...more
Zemkat
I read this book as part of my quest to read all of the Newbery books. This was not one of the betters ones.

I can't believe how little happened in this book. It was so slow. There was (at least) one chapter about standing helplessly in the forest for a day, waiting until nighttime so that the plot could move forward. Another chapter about eating lunch. Another about packing up lunch to continue hiking.

I didn't like any of the characters. The protagonist goes from frustratingly obedient to frustr...more
D.C.
Jan 19, 2014 D.C. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who love action stories and medieval tales
This is definitely a page-turner. It is mind-bogglingly well-written, impossibly riveting, and well-plotted. However, I did have a couple problems with this that kept it from venturing beyond 3-star range. First of all, I really did not like the choice to put this book in first person at all. We could still get access to Crispin's deepest thoughts and worries without hearing his story told in his voice. The narrative is very matter-of-fact, and frankly, disturbed me. But some of Avi's descriptio...more
Krishna C.
The novel, "Crispin: The Cross of Lead," is about a young boy known as Asta's son, about the age of 13, who lived with his mother in the small village of Stromford. He did not have any idea of his father's identity, but was described as a man of no honor. His mother dies in the first chapter, and he is declared a "wolf's head" for stealing money. This is the main conflict of the book, and begins Crispin's story.
I found the novel to be very, very realistic in its ways, adding in religious terms t...more
Kathy
Set in 14th century England not long after the Black Death cut the European population nearly in half, this book follows the story of an orphaned peasant boy known only as Asta’s Son. After his mother dies, Asta’s Son learns from the village priest that he has a name, Crispin, and a heritage that has the manor steward wanting to kill him. After barely escaping, Crispin meets a man called Bear (a traveling actor) and sets off for places unknown with him. Along the way he begins to claim an identi...more
Jill Williamson
Review by Jill Williamson

Asta’s son has never had a name. But now that his mother has died, a priest tells him his name is Crispin. Accused of a crime he didn’t commit, Crispin flees his village home. On his journey he meets a juggler named Bear, who teaches him the ways of entertaining, self defense, and snaring rabbits. At first Crispin is afraid of Bear, but the man takes care of him and teaches him to think for himself.

Crispin’s enemies continue to pursue him. Crispin wonders why they are so...more
Jon
I got this one from the library because of a rave review from a Goodreads friend. I certainly agree with her assessment, my only reservation (if it really is one) is that it's written for people who are the same age as the narrator (13 years). But it was a wonder-filled portrayal of a young boy's journey away from his tiny village to become aware, for the first time, of the wide world. Very melodramatic and full of cliff-hangers and hair-breadth escapes. But also full of genuine amazement in the...more
Ashley
This book was not one of my favorites. I thought it was written well enough, with an interesting story line and idea, but I don't think it was quite good enough to win the Newbery award, especially after reading some of the books that earned an honor for that year- books that were written far better, and dealt with bigger issues in better ways than this book. I don't have anything in particular against this book other than not being overly impressed with it, but I almost feel that they gave Avi...more
Lisa the Librarian
Great example of historical fiction. However, this fact makes the story a bit more obscure for children.

Set in the 1600's where the general population was almost considered the property of the landowner and at their mercy. If the Lord of the Manor is an unkind or even brutal man this made life very difficult and sometimes down right dangerous.

This story is one that should be discussed with an adult after reading to understand the historical significance.

Not really suitable for young children. I...more
15vincents
Crispin and the cross of lead was an interesting book about adventure, betrayal, royalty, and backstabbing. In the first half of the book he is saddened after his mother's death when the priest tells him that he wants to talk with him the next night. The priest was killed by the duke who planned to frame Crispin. Crispin was proclaimed "Wolf's head" which meant that anyone who pleased could kill him. In sadnes he runs away to find a new life. My favorite part was when he found out who he was and...more
Ronda Hinrichsen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy
Loved it! Set in the 14th Century. Historical fiction at it's best. Great bits of wisdom. "Music is the tongue of souls" "The only difference between a dead fool and a live one is the dead one has a deeper grave". He is a great author and I am looking forward to reading more of his work. Our children could learn many lessons from this book as can we. I started this book yesterday afternoon while I was waiting at the DMV and finished it this morning. Could not put it down, and I will think about...more
Kathy Davidson
Asta's son is a nobody. He lived in England in 1377. After his mother died his life really began. He had a strong faith in God and he believed God would lead his life. The village Father told him his real name was Crispin. The steward of his village wanted him dead. He had to run away, but found a friend in a man named Bear in a deserted village. Bear teaches him to be a traveling Jester, but has a secret. He knows more about Cristpin than Crispin knew himself. They traveled to Great Wexly where...more
Nick
Crispin by Avi is a thrilling book about a young 13 year old boy who lives in a small village called Stromford. Crispin is wanted all across the land because he was accused of theft. Crispin and his companion Bear embark on a journey to the palace where they hope to find a place to stay and find out who Crispins father is. I first read this book a long time ago and I really enjoyed it from what I remembered but I decided to read it again and it was even better then the first time I read it. Cris...more
Chris Meads
This was a good book. Avi made his characters very real for the time period (it sounds like around the Middle Ages). I think it could raise questions for kids to understand the relationship of the church to the country (most likely England), and the rich to the poor. Avi does a good job showing how life was during that time.

Crispin is a boy around 13, who has just lost his mother. He has never known his father and doesn't seem to want to know why he is called "Asta's boy" He's always been called...more
Donna Galanti
This was book was enjoyable, an easy read. I especially enjoyed the character of Bear and his relationship with Crispin, yet I felt it could have been so much more. The story fell a bit flat and could have benefited from deeper emotion through more action/dialogue. Also, at times I felt like the writing was a bit lazy (needed an editor) as it was repetitious. Within 2 paras the world "tumultuous" was used twice (a pretty big word to use so close together).

And a big self-awareness Crispin had wa...more
Joanna VanVleet
I loved this! I was intrigued because it was one more book from the author Angela introduced me to when she told me to read Avi's True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. And this particular book received the Newbery Award in 2003. I have this strong fascination with any books from Medieval time period (like the Pillars of the Earth series) and this book did not disappoint! It is a fairly quick read and one that was hard to put down.
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Avi is a pen name for Edward Irving Wortis, but he says, "The fact is, Avi is the only name I use."
Born in 1937, Avi has created many fictional favorites such as The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, and The Crispin series. His work is very much desired by readers young and old.
More about Avi...
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Nothing But the Truth Poppy (Tales of Dimwood Forest, #1) The Seer of Shadows Midnight Magic

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“I kept asking myself if I felt different, if I was different. The answer was always yes. I was no longer nothing…
How odd, I thought; it had taken my mother’s death, Father Quinel’s murder, and the desire of others to kill me to claim a life of my own.”
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“Do you ever smile, boy?" he demanded. "If you can't laugh and smile, life is worthless. Do you hear me?" he yelled. "It's NOTHING!” 0 likes
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