Adventure novel for children and young adults by Andrey Kofman
Winner of the DREAM BOOK National Literary Award (2006, Russia)
A breathtaking story of Spanish colonization of the Americas.
It was in the first part of XVIth century. A new continent was already discovered, and people began to call Europe THE OLD WORLD as opposed to a NEW one, which to many seemed to be full of mysteries and enchantment, a promised land of unimaginable wonders capable to fulfill any human desire. Precisely in search of these miracles Spanish noble marquise Don Alonso de Santillana and his anecdotic crew composed exclusively of whitebeards and cripples sale towards the New Lands. An aged romantic crackpot, a knight errant and passionate lover of chivalry novels, Don Alonso winds up his rich Sevillian estate, and uses all his dough to fit up a ship and to organize an expedition to a New Continent. He and his crew are consolidated by overwhelming belief in miracles of the New World, while all reasonable-minded inhabitants of Seville make merry over their craze.
Don Alonso de Santillana proved to have more luck than his compatriot Don Quixote. Together with his brave crew he managed to discover a multitude of never before explored islands and countries. More important of all, with their very own eyes they saw all the marvels of the world: the giants, who turned out to be wild but quite peaceful folk, the beautiful female warriors, amazons, whom Don Alonso's personal barber revealed all the secrets of Old World beauty and cosmetic culture. On their journey the travelers run into a race of dog-headed people, saw live headless people, sea sirens, dragons etc. Finally they made it to their destination and bathed in the magical water of the Spring of the Eternal Youth, recovering their young age and beauty. Unfortunately, they were the last ones who had an opportunity to enjoy the miracle: a local Indian who showed them to the Spring destroyed it in order not to share this marvel with cruel conquistadores.
Each of Don Alonso's companions finds the most desired, and each one of them is compensated deservedly. Rejuvenated marquise finds his Dame, and only these two are permitted to pass through the gates of the Earthly Heaven. Captain Sancho, a passionate sea wolf, chooses to stay forever on his ship. And Padre Galindo, a monk, lives a long and fruitful life and writes down a chronicle of their miraculous journey.
TERRA ADELANTE! by Andrey Kofman is an adventure novel following the best traditions of the genre. His book features a richness of detail, while it's tonality and rhythmical pattern are close to a modern young reader. Informational "inserts" into a novel's narrative body (as author himself claims, these might be omitted while reading) represent the most interesting and sometimes unexpected historical facts and explanations. For example, Kofman explains the origins of $ symbol and what connection it bears to a national coat-of-arms of Spanish Kingdom, or describes the evolution of geographical maps and why Middle Age navigators were always finding not what they were looking for. Author gives a detailed account of real conquistador's expeditions in search of magical creatures and their discoveries.
For example, did you know that
- the longest river in the world was named by Spanish conquistadors Amazon River after a mythical ancient nation of all-female warriors?
- the name California was taken by Spanish conquistadors from XVI-century popular chivalric romance ‘Espladián’s Adventures’?
- the Fountain of Youth, a legendary spring that reputedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks of its waters, is said to be located in Florida, and stories of the fountain are dating back to Spanish conquest time?