and William Stout (illustrator)
Gauntlet, Jan 2002, 141 pp. 21.95
Along time ago in Northern Persia, Sultan Kasem El-Haroud advertises for a spouse for his daughter Alicia. One-hundred-thirty-seven suitors including wealthy princes and caliphs clamor for the prize, but in spite of their gifts of gold and diamonds, Alicia says no one hundred-thirty-seven times. She informs her frustrated father that she would rather be a hermit because love is just a little bit better than the trinkets.
Grand Vizier Zardak arranges for his henchmen, Horrible and Terrible, to dress up as a lion so he can rescue Alicia and gain her hand in marriage. When a real lion arrives, Zardak deserts Alicia. Abu the woodcutter rescues the princess. Both instantly fall in love, but Zardak persuades Kasem that a woodcutter must prove the equal of a sultan's daughter. Abu agrees to go on the quest to obtain tokens of the 7 marvels of the world to prove his love for Alicia. Accompanied by his younger brother and a tired old genie, Abu begins the adventure that either will make him the 67,3831/2 failure or a legend of love.
Though listed as a children's fairy tale, which it is, adults will also enjoy ABU AND THE 7 MARVELS. The story line is filled with action, heroism, and a deep cast who make magic and otherworldly gems seem real. Readers will have a good time whether they are an adult reading alone or to a child, or just a youngster flying solo on a ragged magic carpet into the world of Richard Matheson as cleverly illustrated by William Stout.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner