Tiger: The Five Ancestors
Random House, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
is the first in a new
series, which tells the stories of young Shaolin monks, the only survivors of the Cangzhen Temple massacre. Each youth has mastered a style of animal kung fu that best reflects his body type and personality - twelve-year-old Fu is the tiger (this first episode tells his story), Malao the monkey, Seh the snake, Hok the crane, and Long the wise dragon.
Ying, who mastered the eagle style, has betrayed them. Full of hate, he leads the Emperor's troops against the temple, seeking the dragon scrolls, which hold ancient secrets. As the killings begin, these five orphaned youths are ordered by their Grandmaster to hide in a water barrel (all of them in one barrel). Fu, like his namesake, is aggressive and short-tempered. As the largest and strongest of the five
, he's at the bottom and not happy about it. They later manage to disperse into the surrounding woods. Grandmaster exhorts them to avoid violence, and assigns them the task of changing Ying, saying '
Uncover the past, for it is your future.
n his way out of the temple, Fu fights Ying's
soldier, Tonglong, and wins the scrolls. In the forest, he comes upon hunters tormenting a cornered tiger and her cub. He attacks, injures a boy, and saves the cub, who follows him. But all was not as it seemed, and Fu learns a lesson about judging by appearances and about self control. There are captures and escapes. Fu finds potential new allies, including a Shaolin monk ('
'), and is reunited with his
, who have had their own adventures and uncovered old secrets. The next story in the series will be that of Malao,
hough both dialog and plot development are uneven, the
series premise will appeal to the male middle school crowd, who will enjoy following the exploits of the five youths, as they search for answers for themselves and the reader.
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