For seven days I have been imprisoned in this windowless box, waiting to die. But I haven’t given up. Every morning I sharpen my fingernails against the wooden walls. My heart is strong like a jungle cat and when the box is finally opened, I’ll claw and bite the hand that holds me.
Atl has been chosen to be sacrificed to the sun god. But, imprisoned in a box, Atl is determined not to be killed. Angry at those who’ve imprisoned him, he plots his revenge. Then, suddenly, he is freed. The temple is under attack, and Atl must flee and deliver an urgent message.
On the run, Atl is tempted not to carry out his mission. This is chance for freedom – and he owes nothing to those who would have sacrificed him. But on his journey he makes friends with other young people with their own things to escape – and is pursued by his biggest enemy. Perhaps if they work together to deliver the message then they can all be free.
Jaguar Warrior is a gripping historical novel for children, set in Aztec times. Told chiefly through Atl’s first person viewpoint, there are also key scenes from a second viewpoint character, the captain who pursues Atl. This second viewpoint creates suspense as the reader can see what Atl cannot – the pursuer and his plans – but at the same time it allows a level of empathy for this ‘baddie’, whose motives are shown as more well intended as would otherwise be thought.
Set in a well researched, thoroughly believable world, this is a thrilling adventure which will appeal to upper primary and secondary readers.
Jaguar Warrior, by Sandy Fussell
Walker Books, 2010
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