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(AiT/Planet Lar, 2006)
™ and © AiT/Planet Lar
Remember the story The Five Chinese Brothers, in which identical brothers with awesome powers defeat an unfair death sentence? Apparently, the tale predates Claire Huchet Bishop and Kurt Wiese’s classic 1938 children’s book by decades and exists in many forms. In this telling, there are seven brothers and the action has been relocated to the Old West, but it is in many ways reminiscent of the childhood favorite. (The climax, however, is far more dramatic than in the kiddie version).
That the action occurs in America suggests that the brothers may not be as identical as we usually think. The inability of the mob to tell them apart may be a racist flaw of the persecutors. In either case, it’s food for thought.
A fascinating appendix details the history of the story, from its roots in The Brothers Grimm to modern pop-culture references.
Familiarity with The Five Chinese Brothers is no prerequisite to understanding or enjoying Seven Sons. But those who fondly recall that book from their youth should pick up this latest telling for the depth and contrast it will provide.
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