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Grimpow: The Invisible Road Paperback – Aug 11 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (Aug. 11 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440239664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440239666
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,138,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, October 29, 2007:
Ábalos blends the grand-scale storytelling prowess and epic quest element of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings with the cryptographic intrigue of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.”

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews:
“A story of pleasing complexity.”

About the Author

As a teenager, Rafael Ábalos was an avid reader of adventure stories. A lawyer for many years, he discovered by accident that he loved to write these stories as well. His first book for young readers, Grimpow: The Invisible Road, will be published around the world in 27 countries. He lives and writes in southern Spain.


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Format: Hardcover
Rafael Ábalos' GRIMPOW: THE INVISIBLE ROAD starts out with the discovery of a dead body on a cold winter's day. In other words, it's a sure sign of a dangerous and exciting story, and the novel does not disappoint.

The body turns out to be a nobleman with a saddlebag full of coins, jeweled daggers, and a letter with a strange wax seal of a snake swallowing its own tail. Grimpow, a young thief, finds a stone clenched in the man's hand. He soon realizes that the stone is magical and bestows on him strange powers, such as the ability to read in all languages and to see visions. The first thing he reads is the cryptic message of the letter. As a rule of thumb, an extraordinary object is always sought after by the worse sort of people. It soon becomes apparent that others are searching for the stone and the letter. With the help of new and old friends, Grimpow not only has to avoid capture but also unravel its secrets.

Set in the early fourteenth century, this novel is a blend of fantasy and history. I really liked that Rafael Ábalos actually took the time to describe what things looked like at the time and to explain some medieval beliefs and superstitions. The book never feels rushed, and its slower pace also makes it easier to keep track of the characters who move in and out of Grimpow's quest. However, there is little chance that the readers will get bored.

Fans of THE DA VINCI CODE and medieval lore will love this book. It contains, but is not limited to, the Knights Templar, jousts, battles, cryptograms, alchemy, and secret societies. There are several illustrations in the book. While it may be hard to put the book down, it is fun to stop reading and try to figure out the riddles by yourself or even with a few friends.

While a little gory, GRIMPOW: THE INVISIBLE ROAD is a fun and thrilling read. And may even inspire an interest in history!

Reviewed by: Natalie Tsang
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on Aug. 19 2011
Format: Paperback
Rafael Ábalos' GRIMPOW: THE INVISIBLE ROAD starts out with the discovery of a dead body on a cold winter's day. In other words, it's a sure sign of a dangerous and exciting story, and the novel does not disappoint.

The body turns out to be a nobleman with a saddlebag full of coins, jeweled daggers, and a letter with a strange wax seal of a snake swallowing its own tail. Grimpow, a young thief, finds a stone clenched in the man's hand. He soon realizes that the stone is magical and bestows on him strange powers, such as the ability to read in all languages and to see visions. The first thing he reads is the cryptic message of the letter. As a rule of thumb, an extraordinary object is always sought after by the worse sort of people. It soon becomes apparent that others are searching for the stone and the letter. With the help of new and old friends, Grimpow not only has to avoid capture but also unravel its secrets.

Set in the early fourteenth century, this novel is a blend of fantasy and history. I really liked that Rafael Ábalos actually took the time to describe what things looked like at the time and to explain some medieval beliefs and superstitions. The book never feels rushed, and its slower pace also makes it easier to keep track of the characters who move in and out of Grimpow's quest. However, there is little chance that the readers will get bored.

Fans of The Da Vinci Code and medieval lore will love this book. It contains, but is not limited to, the Knights Templar, jousts, battles, cryptograms, alchemy, and secret societies. There are several illustrations in the book. While it may be hard to put the book down, it is fun to stop reading and try to figure out the riddles by yourself or even with a few friends.

While a little gory, GRIMPOW: THE INVISIBLE ROAD is a fun and thrilling read. And may even inspire an interest in history!

Reviewed by: Natalie Tsang
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
fascinating fantasy Oct. 12 2007
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In 1313 in mountainous France, youngster Grimpow sees the corpse. He had no idea who this dead person is, but scared he brings adult Durlib to look at the body. Durlib says the deceased died peacefully and wrenches a stone out of the man's clenched hand. He tosses the stone to Grimpow. The pair examines a nearby bag containing a large booty. They argue over what to do with the silver coins, ruby and emerald covered daggers, and precious jewels; as Durlib insists they are tramps and thieves while Grimpow says they are not grave robbers. However, they also find a letter written in an unknown alphabet containing a strange seal of a snake swallowing its tail.

Grimpow may learn to regret the last item he grabbed. As he holds the stone as an amulet, he begins seeing weird visions of unknown locales. Frightened further because now Grimpow can read the letter as if the language was something he always knew, but the note is for someone else who Grimpow fears will soon be coming for the bearer of the letter. Even worse befalls him when he finds he cannot leave the letter or the stone behind as if they are part of him. Thus begins Grimpow's centuries' journey on "The Invisible Road".

GRIMPOW is a fascinating fantasy that readers will appreciate because as the hero's adventures occur, he learns more about the stone he possesses or as he has come to believe possesses him. Interestingly men have grasped this amulet, but never owned it; however, Grimpow is the first child to hold the stone. Readers will want to travel alongside Grimpow as he unlocks the secrets of the stone.

Harriet Klausner
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on audio July 2 2008
By Kat Hooper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Grimpow: The Invisible Road was written for young adults by Spanish lawyer Rafael Abalos and translated to English after its success in Europe. The story is a medieval mystery/historical fantasy set in early 14th century Europe.

Grimpow is an illiterate orphan who stumbles upon the dead body of one of the last of the Knights Templar who was on a quest to secure the philosopher's stone from the grasp of King Philip IV and Pope Clement V. The king and pope, in order to get control of the stone and its promise of wealth and wisdom, had accused the Knights of heresy and were in the process of eliminating them. On the dead knight, Grimpow finds a letter, a seal, and a magical stone which gives him the ability to understand written languages and the desire to find wisdom. He takes up the search for wisdom while trying to keep the stone out of the hands of King Philip's inquisitor.

The book's pace is slow at first, while Grimpow spends a lot of time in an abbey reading forbidden scientific manuscripts and questioning the monks. There's a lot of reading and talking going on, and not much action. I got the impression that Abalos was using this as "teaching time" and we get a few mini-lectures on history, astronomy, mythology, geometry, mathematics, architecture, the arts, alchemy, and the nature of God and wisdom. There's a lot of name-dropping going on here, too: Aristotle, Socrates, Pythagoras, Ptolemy, Plato, etc.

Things pick up when Grimpow, who has become very wise by this time, decides it's time to leave to search for wisdom. So he becomes the squire of an Italian knight who, though Grimpow doesn't know it yet, has some connections with the Templars and the sages who discovered the stone centuries before. Eventually they join up with a beautiful woman who is also involved in the search for wisdom. The three of them work together to solve a series of clues and riddles during their search.

Overall, the writing is very good (no worries about the translation), except that the dialogue is often stilted and formal ("There is a fire in the village of Cornhill. And I think the wind is dragging the screams of battle and laments of death. Let's go and see what's happening."), there are a few tired similes ("Durlib knew that hostile snow-covered region like the back of his hand."), and we are often told the motivation behind speeches or questions: someone is pretending, joking, flattering, feigning confusion, or expressing anger. Also, there was little description of what the main characters looked like, and the beautiful lady, who was instrumental in solving clues, had the personality of a pancake.

I thought some of the characters had unrealistic reactions after learning that Grimpow was carrying the famed philosopher's stone. I mean, if I met a kid with the philosopher's stone, I'd at least say "can I see it?" but Grimpow's allies didn't. But what bugged me most were the huge logical leaps in puzzle and riddle solving. Grimpow and the pretty pancake lady came up with these outrageous solutions to riddles that turned out to be correct. I can't give examples, or that will ruin the story, but let me just say that the riddle solutions are so far-fetched that it's no use to try to figure them out for yourself.

But, I remind myself that this story was written for middle school kids, and I'm thirty something. This is a well-told and well-written story with an interesting historical background and likable characters, and the stuff I rolled my eyes at might be fun and exciting for a youngster.

One caution for Christian parents: This story deals with the corruption of the Catholic church in the middle ages, and this is done mostly accurately (except, of course for the fantasy elements such as the philosopher's stone). However, at the end of the novel, it is suggested that humans reach the pinnacle of wisdom when we become equal to God. Parents who consider this heresy will want to discuss that with their kids.

I listened to Grimpow on audio. The reader does a good job, except that one character sounds like a mobster and another has an inexplicable German accent. But, if you can suppress your giggles, the audio version works well for this story. -FantasyLiterature.net
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I was surprised!!! Dec 7 2007
By S. Lopez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was looking for a book to read during my commute on the train and this was handed to me by my wife. She told me not to freak out as it was a "young adult" book. I had low expectations after that comment but should have known better. I could not put it down. I found myself still reading it in the train station after I arrived at my stop, at lunch to finish up a chapter, and after I got home. This is a great book for anyone (as I am no "young adult"). I am curious to hear if there is a follow up book to this one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Better than the Da Vinci Code Feb. 2 2009
By Jeannie Mancini - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Grimpow, by Rafael Abalos, is an outstanding debut historical novel written for young adults in the style of The Da Vinci Code, only better. Much much better. This is an incredible top-notch art-history mystery adventure tale that will engross readers of all ages from the opening paragraphs right through to the last page.

Grimpow, together with a friend, is a teenage boy living off the land as a local bandit and thief. One day as he is passing through the forest he finds a dead body in the snow, a well dressed older man with a pouch of gold nuggets, silver coins, jewel encrusted daggers and a mysterious brown stone. In fear that they will be accused of murder, the boys flee to the nearest abbey where they have been befriended in the past when in need of food and shelter. Soon after their arrival, an evil knight comes knocking, and searching, knowing that someone nearby has found the dead body of a man they have been pursuing. Pursuing because the man had been traveling with a hidden secret that will reveal the grandest of all treasures to be found by mankind. The Abbot and resident monks at the abbey hide Grimpow and his friend underneath the abbey in tunnels that lead to hidden rooms and a secret library. And here, tucked away in this vast and wondrous library, is where Grimpows story, and journey, begins.

The evil knight takes Grimpow's friend captive, but because he was hidden away, they were not aware of Grimpows existence. Saved by the monks, Grimpow is soon educated in all manners of knowledge. He is taught the arts of language, literature, religion, art, science, and astronomy, and soon hears of the incredible story of the lost treasure of the Knights Templar in which he will soon learn, is his destiny. The stone that he found on the dead man, is a key to finding the treasure that has been lost for hundreds of years and sought after by many.

With cryptograms, anagrams, riddles and codes, secret maps and magical stones, Knights in shining armor and damsels in distress, Grimpow embarks on the journey of his life. This is a coming-of-age story full of adventure and mystery that is certainly cinema bound and a classic in the making. A book to withstand the test of time. There is a fantastic blend of quality story telling here mixed with great character development and a superior complex plot. Written in a literary style, this historical novel is set in France with just enough historical background and description to give the reader a real-life experience as if they were living in that time period. But not too much to be boring, or for the story to be dragged down with historical facts. The characters are delightful and loveable, the story is very different and leads you down paths you might not expect, with an ending that I found just perfect and not predictable. If you are looking for a fantasy novel, you will not be happy. The fantasy aspects in this book are minimal and not a feature. If you want a high action thriller adventure, this also might disappoint you. Although this is a story of grand adventure, there is very little action. It is however, an intriguing historical tale of a famous legend, a lost treasure, and a book for budding erudites who wish to uncover the secrets of the universe. Lovers of astronomy, Templar tales, gothic cathedrals, labyrinths and puzzles to unravel, will simply jump up and down with the ingenuity of it all. Two thumbs up, it deserves more stars that I'm allowed to give it. Standing ovation please!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Courtesy of Teens Read Too April 10 2008
By TeensReadToo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Rafael Ábalos' GRIMPOW: THE INVISIBLE ROAD starts out with the discovery of a dead body on a cold winter's day. In other words, it's a sure sign of a dangerous and exciting story, and the novel does not disappoint.

The body turns out to be a nobleman with a saddlebag full of coins, jeweled daggers, and a letter with a strange wax seal of a snake swallowing its own tail. Grimpow, a young thief, finds a stone clenched in the man's hand. He soon realizes that the stone is magical and bestows on him strange powers, such as the ability to read in all languages and to see visions. The first thing he reads is the cryptic message of the letter. As a rule of thumb, an extraordinary object is always sought after by the worse sort of people. It soon becomes apparent that others are searching for the stone and the letter. With the help of new and old friends, Grimpow not only has to avoid capture but also unravel its secrets.

Set in the early fourteenth century, this novel is a blend of fantasy and history. I really liked that Rafael Ábalos actually took the time to describe what things looked like at the time and to explain some medieval beliefs and superstitions. The book never feels rushed, and its slower pace also makes it easier to keep track of the characters who move in and out of Grimpow's quest. However, there is little chance that the readers will get bored.

Fans of The Da Vinci Code and medieval lore will love this book. It contains, but is not limited to, the Knights Templar, jousts, battles, cryptograms, alchemy, and secret societies. There are several illustrations in the book. While it may be hard to put the book down, it is fun to stop reading and try to figure out the riddles by yourself or even with a few friends.

While a little gory, GRIMPOW: THE INVISIBLE ROAD is a fun and thrilling read. And may even inspire an interest in history!

Reviewed by: Natalie Tsang


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