Review Blog

Mar 05 2012

The ghost of Ping-Ling by Peter Cooper

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Omnibus, 2011. ISBN 978 1 86291 918 1.
(Age: 11-14) Dillen is an orphan looked after at the temple in Ping-Ling by the priest Kaji who despises him. His life is changed forever when he is visited by an Easterner in the service of the Empire who tells him to find the sorcerer Hallegat and serve him well.  After the temple burns down and Dillen is blamed for it by Kaji he has no real alternative but to flee.  He is soon captured by the Puk-do, a blend of pig and human, luckily he escapes and teams up with Tajni and later Koto, Tajni's friend. They then embark together on the quest to find Hallegat, along the way meeting many others both human and non-human. The Empire has some resemblances to Japan and the author has skillfully woven together many diverse elements to create an exciting story.  It is not clear whether Dillen is meant to succeed or merely provide a diversion. However by equal combinations of luck and skill, Dillen and his friends eventually succeed and he returns to Ping-Ling to expose Kaji for what he is. 
This fantasy should appeal to those who like an oriental flavor to their story, but also elements of magic and magical creatures.  The story moves along at a cracking pace and should appeal to both boys and girls in middle school. There are two other books in the series as Dillen and his friends continue the quest for the Blue Jade.
David Rayner

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