Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman

Review by Sarah, 14 years old, from California

James Ramsey Ullman’s fiction novel, Banner in the Sky, contains great adventure. The protagonist, Rudi Matt, is a small, slim boy around the age of sixteen who lives in Kurtal, a small village in the heart of the Swiss Alps. Within the area, there is one enormous mountain, the Citadel, that is still unconquered. Having taken on this great challenge, Rudi's father Josef Matt was the only one who attempted to climb the Citadel; however, there was a turn of events in Josef’s Matt's expedition and he died. Rudi has always dreamed of climbing mountains, not only to receive high acclaim, but also to be just like his father, yet everyone knows that if he climbed mountains of any sort, let alone the Citadel, he would not survive because of his age and physical condition since he was always teased about how small he was and how he could never do anything. Rudi knew that one day he would be able to climb and that day will be when he is a man. Rudi goes through intense training in order to climb mountains. Once Rudi reached the point where he was an adept climber, he decided to climb the Citadel. The day came and Rudi was ready to take on the monstrous mountain and put all his training to the test. Not only was it Rudi’s dream, but also his father’s dream, and Rudi knew it was his job to fulfill it. I thought that this was an amazing book. I liked how it was very intriguing throughout and how it had exciting events placed in intervals so I would never get bored. Another thing that I liked was how I got to see a different perspective on what life of another teenager was like. It was very different compared to the lives of teenagers in America today. I can barely climb a rock wall, let alone a huge mountain that no one has conquered. This shows that people in different time periods and places can have tremendous differences based upon their society and how things work. I also thought that the author’s purpose was to show Rudi’s perseverance and how one should never let anything, not even society, get in the way of reaching true dreams. If I had to rate this book on a scale of 1 to 4, I would definitely rate it a 4. I think the intended audience would be young adult to adult readers who enjoy adventure, timeless stories, and a book full of encouragement.

Posted on 2010-07-24