An Arabian Nights Tale for the Twenty-First Century Yeats Trafford, age 12, visits his grandmother, who lives in a creepy house, which has more than the usual creeks and moans. The garden seems able to sense Yeats presence, especially near the old wishing well. From that weird experience, Yeats uncovers an old pirate bookend that was “kicked out” of the library 20 years earlier. Yeats cleans the old guy and takes him to Gran’s library, reuniting him with his matching bookend.
From there, a strange yet believable world opens up to Master Yeats. He has heard the story of his father’s own journey with the pirate bookends and is determined to journey inside a book from Gran’s library. Yeat’s wants to finish what his father could not, hoping his success will keep his parents together. Mrs. Trafford refuses to believe anything or anyone she cannot see. This trip to her mother-in-law’s bewildering home is the couple’s last chance
William Trafford, Yeat’s father, went on a journey with Shari 20 years ago when they were both 12, but when the time came for the two to take-off, William could not reach Shari before the King’s guards closed ranks around her. William returned to the library alone. Shari became Sharahazad, the King’s story-teller. Her grandfather has lived heart-broken ever since.
When Yeats discovers his buried pirate has a mate, he sets his mind to accomplishing one goal: bring home the girl left behind 20 years ago when she and his father went on their own journey. Where does Yeats and the pirate bookends (named Skin and Bones), journey? Into the pages of The Arabian Night.
Now, two decades later, William’s 12 year-old son has taken on the same task: bring Shari/Shaharazad home without actually rescuing her. Shari/Shaharazad must want to return on her own, before the spell she is under will break, setting her brain back into her own reality, rather than as Shaharazad, locked inside a castle for safety.
When the time is right, Yeats must break his own spell at the same time Shari and her spell breaks or both may not make it back to the library. Yeats cannot force her to return. Yeat’s father could not get Shari to return and they knew each other. Shari has been inside the story for 20 years and has remained 12 years-old. Will she trust Yeats, maybe sensing her William? Or, will Shaharazad hand Yeats over to the castle guards?
Yeats has an impossible task before him. Funny guys Skin and Bones refuse to help. Maybe it’s of a pirate’s code (of dishonor)? Skin and Bones transport Yeats, leaving him on his own, inside the shore of The Arabian Nights
I really liked this story. It was difficult to put the book down. There is adventure, romance, harrowing action and lots of humor, especially from Skin and Bones. Shari has been in the story as Shaharazad, the king’s storyteller and the one person who can get the king to sleep. Shaharazad might be telling the king boring stories, but in Between Two Ends, not one boring word can be found.
The author, David Ward, does a masterful job creating the world of The Arabian Nights, capturing the lost souls, the resident’s desperation, and the danger Yeats encounters, brilliantly.
The “original” Arabian Nights, known in the US as A Thousand-and- One Arabian Nights, has more than 1000 pages in some older versions. A currently available version has 912 pages. David Ward’s Between Two Ends could easily be part of an Arabian Nights tale for the twenty-first century. Plus, with less than 300 pages, it is a faster read.