Cover image for Secret sacrament
Title:
Secret sacrament
Author:
Jordan, Sherryl.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.

©1996
Physical Description:
338 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Summary:
A disturbing incident when he is only seven years old foreshadows the role Gabriel will play in the relations between his Navorran people and the Shinali, a role which is solidified when he becomes an Elected One and trains to be a Healer.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
820 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.6 17.0 46854.

Reading Counts RC High School 7.1 23 Quiz: 24354 Guided reading level: NR.
ISBN:
9780060289041

9780060289058
Format :
Book

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Central Library X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Dreams.
Vows.
Prophecies.
Destiny.

The Navoran Empire is wealthy, powerful - -and slowly falling under the sway of the Empress's corrupt and sinister adviser.

The Shinali nation has been reduced to a single clan on a small strip of land. They cling to their traditional ways, awaiting a hero out of legend.

All Gabriel Eshban Vala has ever wanted is to be a healer. It has been this way since his seventh year, when he witnessed a brutal act he was helpless to stop. But he never forgot the eyes of the dying Shinali woman who asked him for help. From that day forward, Gabriel withstood the demands of his father, his family, and even his Empress in order to pursue his dreams of healing the sick. So what could an ancient prophecy foretelling his powerful nation's downfall have to do with him?

When a chance meeting on a lonely plain brings him into the land of the Shinali, Gabriel develops a deep respect for these people and grows more and more disenchanted with his place among the powerful rulers of the Navoran Empire. Now, caught between loyalty to his Navoran roots and love for the Shinali people, Gabriel must make a single choice. The fate of two nations hangs in the balance. And so does Gabriel's own life.

Sherryl Jordan has written an extraordinary and deeply moving tale of fate, hope, loyalty -- and the ability of one man to change destiny.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 8^-12. Set in an ancient civilization, this New Zealand import is a riveting exploration into the impact childhood guilt has upon decisions made throughout life. Gabriel is only seven when he witnesses the brutal rape and slow death of a Shinali slave. From this point forward, he vows to become a healer, and he's eventually apprenticed to the men of the Citadel, healer-priests who work "in the regions of the human mind and spirit, as well as in surgery and medicine." Always aware of his early inability to help a woman in agony, his life is a restless struggle against pain, suffering, and evil, until he falls in love with Ashila, a beautiful Shinali woman who welcomes him into her family and into her life. His love for Ashila, coupled with his need to atone for his youthful failing, force Gabriel into exile from his beloved Citadel. Now begins fulfillment of the Time of the Eagle prophecy, when slave nation and conquering nation become equals. Secret Sacrament is a surprising book: violent, yet ultimately peaceful; bitter and despairing, yet ultimately hopeful. Although it appears reflective of the Christian tradition, with allusions to the coming savior and the sacrifice of a life to save a people, it is not overtly religious. Rather, it is a powerful story of the influence of good over evil, love over hate, and the potential impact of one person on a nation's history. --Frances Bradburn


Publisher's Weekly Review

Jordan's (The Raging Quiet) fantasy creates enough drama to keep readers glued to their seats, despite characters that lack dimension. The citizens of Navora have pushed the native Shinali off their land, but a prophesy foretells a coming change: a Navoran man will help the Shinali reclaim what was theirs, and (after much of Navora has been destroyed) the two civilizations will live in peace. When the empire's powerful advisers recognize the signs that Gabriel, a young healer studying at the prestigious Citadel, may be that presaged Navoran, they will stop at nothing to thwart his destiny. They eventually imprison the entire nation and the young healer in an abandoned fort. Jordan fills her taut narrative with gripping images, such as the opening chapter in which a seven-year-old Gabriel witnesses the murder of the Shinali chieftain's daughter. Her descriptions are equally vivid when Gabriel's look-alike brother is mistakenly murdered by the advisers, when he first sees and instantly falls in love with a Shinali healer and when he applies his powers of healing to the infirm. Unfortunately, the characters themselves are not beleivable: Jaganath, the corrupt chief adviser to the empress, is too evil, while Gabriel's mentor at the Citadel, Salverion, is too wise and pure. But the plot's twists and turns will keep readers hooked; even though it is clear that Gabriel will fulfill the prophecy, readers will wonder how he will manage and what he will have to sacrifice along the way. Ages 12-up. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-A young and talented healer tries to save two civilizations in this absorbing fantasy. As Gabriel learns the healing arts from wise masters, he also becomes inescapably involved in the treacherous politics of the Navoran Empire. The Empress trusts the young man's ability to interpret her dreams, while her jealous advisor Jaganath tries to discredit, corrupt, and even murder him. The villain also means to destroy the neighboring Shinali people, most of whose land the imperialistic Navorans captured years ago. Gabriel, however, develops strong ties to the native people. He respects their rights generally, then becomes personally involved as he falls in love with Ashila, a young Shinali woman. As Jaganath's hold over the Empress increases, Gabriel tries to help the Shinali find a peaceful solution. He cannot prevent the bloodshed, but eventually the young man paves the way for a more positive future by making a tragic personal sacrifice. Jordan deftly conveys the historical and political background of her world, showing the contrast between the Shinali and Navoran peoples, and the appeal that both societies hold in the mind of the protagonist. Gabriel is an engaging hero, determined to act nobly, and yet caught up in events that often make his decisions agonizingly difficult. Though at first he seems almost too saintly, his struggles to balance personal principles with the cruelty of the real world bring out his human frailties and raise powerful questions about fate, duty, and courage.-Steven Engelfried, Deschutes County Library, Bend, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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