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Tiger by Jeff Stone
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** spoiler alert ** This is the first book in the Five Ancestors series, detailing the stories of a band of Shaolin monks whose temple was destroyed by their former brother, Ying. They take their names from the Cantonese Chinese language – Fu means tiger, and this is his tale. When Ying destroys the temple and has all of the monks murdered, only Fu and his brothers manage to escape. Fu sticks around and steals the dragon scrolls that Ying is so determined to possess. The other sacred scrolls (that hold the secrets of the different kinds of kung fu) are destroyed by Ying’s troops. It seems that Ying’s only friend was killed in an accident in a task he undertook from the Emperor, and Ying feels that the Grandmaster is responsible for his death, so his mission is to take revenge on the temple. Fu is separated from his brothers as he escapes through the countryside. He gets into some trouble and ends up caged in one of the nearby towns. There, however, he redeems himself and teaches kung fu to many of the village children. He is recaptured by Ying, but then saved by some of his brother monks. At the end they decide that they must discover the truth about their Grandmaster – is he the criminal that Ying believes him to be? The only place they can find these answers is from the monks at Shaolin. And their journey there, presumably, is where the next book will begin.

This was a decent introduction to the series. Unfortunately not much happens in terms of plot development/movement. There’s the big attack on the temple and then a lot of time is spent with Fu just running around and being captured and then escaping over and over again. Grows a bit tiresome. Interesting discussions of kung fu, though. Boys who are interested in martial arts, or like kung fu movies (especially the silly ones, like Shaolin Soccer) could really get into these.
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