________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 16 . . . .April 14, 2006


Beyond the Mask. (Mask series; 3).

David Ward.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2006.
201 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 0-439-95787-7.

Subject Headings:
Loyalty-Juvenile fiction.
War stories.

Grades 6-10 / Ages 11-15.

Review by Christina Pike.

**** /4



"We have seen them," Pippa said. "They are the Outside army."

His smile faded. "Your voice...Your face..."

Although he was not a tall man, who could not have stood up to Marumuk, his arms were as thick as a farmer's, and from experience I knew their danger.

"Stay back, old one. You saved us from the raiders and for that I do not wish to harm you. But you must not come near Pippa."

He blanched at her name and to my complete surprise dropped to one knee as if I had struck him.

"Pippa," he croaked.

I crouched, ready to spring. Pippa dug her fingernails into my shoulder. "Get behind me, Pippa. Now."

She did not move.

"Pippa," the man said again, his hands clasped in prayer, his eyes closed tight.

"Let go of me, Corki."

"We do not know him!"

"I do know him." Her voice trembled. "I know him."


On their own for over a year, searching their distant memories for something familiar, the runaways find themselves in a small farming village. Pippa seems to recall this place only to discover that the Outsiders have also discovered it. They try to warn the townspeople and are almost captured again. A large white haired man with a beard helps them, and Pippa seems to know him. It isn't long before they realize that this is her father, and this village her peace ful place. Their happiness is short-lived as the raiders return to destroy the village and kill its occupants. Coriko and Thief manage to kill three of the raiders, and the rest retreat with a warning that it is not yet settled. Fearing that the Outside army will return stronger in numbers, the runaways leave to find help. They travel to the town of Gotten to enlist the help of Father Bergoin only to receive a letter from Bran's sister, Tia, asking the runaways to return to Grasslands. Tia writes of how things have changed in a year and how they need to return to help Marumuk and Tia save Grassland from the traitors. It is a high debt to repay, but the runaways have little choice if they are truly to be free.

     David Ward in this third book finishes the story he began in Escape the Mask. Readers see the characters of Coriko, Thief, Pippa, Feelah and Bran grow up and become young adults accepting the responsibility of their actions. Just as the story began in Grasslands, it ends there too. True friendship and loyalty are measured, and only by standing together can the group be victorious. Ward has written more than a trilogy about war but a story about loyalty and overcoming differences. The runaways are successful because they help one another, and the true measure of a man is not in his ability to carry and swing a sword but in finding a peaceful solution—to go beyond the mask. A lesson that many would do well to learn.

A must read. Powerful ending to a very interesting story.

Christina Pike has been seconded to the Department of Education, Newfoundland and Labrador.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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