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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: 2.7 x 13.1 x 21.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #930,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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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
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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
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.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Surprisingly addictive Jan. 1 2008
By JenniferB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book to read while traveling over the holidays. I was surprised to find that I couldn't put it down. The Publisher's Weekly review was dead on when it compared it to the DaVinci Code, but for kids. I was never bored with it and it went from one intriguing scene to another without long bouts of boring the way some books do. I can't wait for another book from this author!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Longer than it needed to be March 13 2009
By M. Bennett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed most of this book. I enjoyed the story, characters, scenery, etc. What I didn't enjoy was the repetition many parts of this book. You read what is going on in the book and then when the character reflects on what he went through, it goes through pages of them telling you what you just read. I found myself skipping through pages just to get to where it left off at. I feel it could of been 100 pages less than what it was. Also, when it came to solving the puzzles, it was a little drawn out. I enjoyed the book otherwise and would recommend it.

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