Phoenix (Five Ancestors Out of Ashes #1)

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Phoenix (Five Ancestors Out of Ashes #1)
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Publisher
Age Range
10+
Release Date
September 25, 2012
ISBN
978-0-375-87018-7
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It is 350 years after the events of The Five Ancestors. Phoenix Collns lives in Indiana with his grandfather who is teaching him kung fu. But Phoenix's real love is mountain bike racing. When unsettlingand events reveal that his grandfather is not only one of the legendary five Cangzhen monks, but also almost 400 years old, Phoenix must race the clock if he is going to keep his beloved ancestor alive. Traveling to China, he meets an intriguing young woman who is a talented biker and a terrific mechanic. She offers to help him, but can she be trusted?

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Awesome adventure in China

Phoenix is competing in a local cycle race when Ryan, a sort-of friend, starts to ride dirty, grabbing the back of his shirt and eventually kicking him right in the face. Phoenix's tire is ruined and his grandfather is assessing his wounds when he comes to. There's no hope for the race (and Phoenix hates to lose), but to make matters worse, when the pair arrive home, their house has been trashed and the grandfather's "herbal supplement" has been stolen by thugs Phoenix suspects tampered with his bike. It turns out that his grandfather is over 300 years old and only thrives thanks to dragon bone, a fine powder that is very rare. Without the stolen supply, he will die. Phoenix's Uncle Ti quickly arranges for him to travel to China to try to get more dragon bone from either PawPaw, an herbalist, or Grandmaster Long, who lives in the monastery that the grandfather did. Once in China, PawPaw sends Phoenix out on his own with just a GPS; luckily, he meets Hu Die (Iron Butterfly) whose father owns a cycling shop. Hu Die is a master mechanic, strong bike rider, and wants desperately to go to the US. She offers to save Phoenix the hike to the monastery and bike there with him. When they arrive, Grandmaster Long agrees to give some dragon bone to the grandfather, but the same thugs who trashed Phoenix's house show up and steal it. Hu Die recognizes one as Tan Lin, a cyclist who worked with... Ryan's rich uncle who has a team! Hue Die and Phoenix manage to make their way to Texas so that Phoenix can join the team, and so the two can get back the dragon bone.

Good Points
There is no synopsis that does justice to this awesome, awesome book! I enjoyed The Five Ancestors series, and it's been popular in my library, but anything set in the 1650s is going to be a hard sell to some students. Stone does action like nobody else. It wouldn't have occurred to me to read about mountain biking or cyclocross, but Stone describes everything in heart-pounding, muscle wrenching detail. There are fights, traveling around the world, and a bit of mysticism. Students who haven't read The Five Ancestors could start with this and go back to the other series if they wanted. Great stuff!
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