Home—Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Agent—Kraas Literary Agency, 13514 Winter Creek Ct., Houston, TX 77077.
FOR YOUNG ADULTS
The Edge on the Sword, Putnam (New York, NY), 2001.
Far Traveler, Putnam (New York, NY), 2005.
The Edge on the Sword was adapted for audiocassette, read by Emily Gray, Recorded Books, 2002.
Immersed in the English past while attending Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in Old English literature, Rebecca Tingle has since incorporated her understanding of British history into her fictional works for young adults, which include the novels The Edge on the Sword and Far Traveler. Critics have acknowledged Tingle's works for their historical accuracy as well as for the author's ability to engage readers through her mastery of plot development. She is also credited with possessing a knack for creating empathetic characters, many of whom are strong young women. In her first novel, The Edge on the Sword, Tingle spins a fictional account of Æthelflaed, the Anglo-Saxon queen who conquered the Danes in ninth-century England. Kliatt reviewer Sally M. Tibbetts commented that The Edge on the Sword is "an exciting look into medieval history, women's role and life choices, military strategies and the constant strife that was part of life." Continuing her story in Far Traveler, Tingle continues her saga by centering on Æthelflaed's daughter, Æfwyn.
In reviewing The Edge on the Sword, a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "medieval history buffs will be enthralled" by the book. In the novel, fifteen-year-old Æthelflaed—the eldest daughter of King Alfred—submits to a political betrothal to King Ethelred, a man nearly twice her age. The impending marriage of Æthelflaed and Ethelred also symbolizes a union between northern and southern England, and the young bride-to-be now finds herself in an influential position. In an effort to protect his daughter from threats to her life, King Alfred appoints Red as a bodyguard to protect the young woman until her marriage. After the wedding, Æthelflaed first rebels against Red and yearns for her independence, but the young woman eventually develops into the leader she is meant to become. School Library Journal critic Starr E. Smith claimed that Tingle's "story is filled with exciting action, interesting characters, and convincing historical details of the late ninth-century that bring life to this distant and violent time in Britain." In a similar fashion, Sally Estes commented in Booklist that the author's "research is obvious, and her graceful, tightly plotted narrative is steeped in a tangible sense of time and place—of the culture as well as the unrest, danger, and violence."
With Far Traveler Tingle centers her focus on Ælfwyn, the daughter of Queen Æthelflaed. Ælfwyn is a bookish and shy sixteen-year-old, very unlike her mother who was renowned for her prowess in battle and in politics. Ælfwyn's inner strength is put to the test when her mother dies suddenly, leaving the teen alone to fend against an uncle who demands that she marry or enter a convent. Ælfwyn rebels against her uncle by disguising herself as a boy and running away. Later, she finds herself forced to choose between a new life and the security of her family. A Kirkus Reviews contributor, in a critique of Far Traveler, noted that "Tingle wears her erudition lightly, yet every detail… rings absolutely authentic. More importantly, her characters think and act like real Anglo-Saxons, rather than moderns in fancy dress." Ginny Gustin, reviewing the novel for School Library Journal, regarded Far Traveler as a "compelling novel … filled with well-researched details, an action-packed plot, and well-drawn and sympathetic characters."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 2001, Sally Estes, review of The Edge on the Sword, p. 1551.
Kliatt, July, 2002, Sally M. Tibbetts, review of The Edge on the Sword, p. 50.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2005, review of Far Traveler, p. 236.
Publishers Weekly, July 2, 2002, review of The Edge on the Sword, p. 77.
School Library Journal, July, 2001, Starr E. Smith, review of The Edge on the Sword, p. 114; February, 2005, review of Far Traveler, p. 142.
Penguin Group Web site,http://www.penguingroup.com/ (October 6, 2006), "Rebecca Tingle."*