Cover image for Antar and the eagles
Antar and the eagles
Mayne, William, 1928-2010.
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Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte Press, 1990.
Abducted and raised by eagles, a young boy is sent on a mission to rescue a lost egg and, in the process, save the race of eagles.
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Abducted and raised by eagles, a young boy is sent on a mission to rescue a lost egg and, in the process, save the race of eagles.

Author Notes

William Mayne was born on March 16, 1928. Before dropping out of school at 17, he was a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral from 1937 until 1942. He wrote more than 100 books during his lifetime and is best known for his Choir School quartet comprising of A Swarm in May, Choristers' Cake, Cathedral Wednesday and Words and Music, and his Earthfasts trilogy comprising of Earthfasts, Cradlefasts and Candlefasts. He won numerous awards including the Carnegie Medal in 1957 for A Grass Rope, the Guardian Award in 1993 for Low Tide, and the Kurt Maschler prize in 1997 for Lady Muck. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Martin Cobalt, Dynely James and Charles Molin.

In 2004, he was convicted of 11 charges of sexual abuse with young girls and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and placed on the sex offenders' register for life. His books were largely removed from shelves from 2004 onwards, but he continued to write. He died on March 24, 2010 at the age of 82.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-7. Stolen by the eagles to undertake a great mission, a frightened Antar is dropped into an aerie full of eaglets high in the mountains. Nearly overwhelmed by his dilemma, Antar finds his fight to survive strengthened when he adopts a kitten, who needs his protection. Taught first to communicate with the huge birds and then to fly, Antar is taken to the Great Eagle, who tells the boy that he has been chosen to retrieve a stolen eagle egg, which is held in high esteem by a wealthy king. Accomplishing his mission doesn't end Antar's trial, however; he now needs to act as mother to the hatchling. He eventually returns home, richer and wiser, having learned from the eagles that all creatures must leave home to understand the world around them. This complex story will need a sophisticated reader, though older children interested in nature will be fascinated, especially by the eagle information deftly tucked into the story. Mayne carefully hones his depiction of Antar's ordeal in a fantasy far different from his equally compelling Gideon Ahoy! [BKL My 1 89]. --Barbara Elleman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Kidnapped by eagles, five-year-old Antar is on an extraordinary quest: he must become an eagle, learn to fly and rescue the egg that will hatch into the next Great Eagle of the Mountains. Many years before, when eagles and humans had lived on the plains, there was a huge battle between the two. The eagles were driven into the mountains, and the humans stole an egg, thinking it mere gold. But the time has come for the egg to hatch, and Antar has been chosen. He must build himself a suit of feathers and risk his life to return the egg. A vaguely historical setting--late feudal Europe?--and the author's customary control of language call to mind The Hobbit. Like that classic, Mayne's fairy tale has no didactic message for the reader, but is rather pure adventure, best read aloud. Ages 10-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-7-- Attractive cover art depicts six-year-old Antar, who, having just managed to overcome his fear of heights, is kidnapped from the church spire by the king of a race of giant eagles. The eagles are convinced that Antar can help them recover the stolen golden egg from which will hatch their next Great Eagle, without whom they will die. A few difficulties face them: Antar must learn to eat eagle food, use eagle language, grow feathers, and then learn to fly. As these feats are accomplished, Antar continues to overcome great obstacles, rescuing and almost returning the egg safely to the eagles, only to drop it down a hole in the side of a mountain. Nearly killed for this by the merciless eagles, Antar struggles on through a harrowing series of catastrophes, winning in the end. Finally returned to his own village and home, he is reunited with his family and all ends happily. After a slow start, episodic chapters are real cliff-hangers, and the descriptions are rich and vivid. Characterization is necessarily limited, but does show individual strengths and weaknesses of both humans and eagles, e.g. Antar's insistence on caring for the kitten brought to him as food confounds and frustrates the eagles, but they, to varying degrees, tolerate his show of human kindness. This is more accessible than many of Mayne's books because of the limited amount of dialogue, and it contains more humor. Readers of fantasy/adventure with strong reading skills and/or the ambition to forge ahead through a seemingly endless parade of trials and tribulations will be fully entertained. --Joel Shoemaker, Tilford Mid dle School, Vinton, IA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.