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Yoss is a strange novel, a mixture of the mundane and the cut-throat, an adventure that doesn't quite become an adventure and is it an allegory for young adults or only adults? Yoss sets off from his village high in the mountains to become a man - symbolically at first, then literally - and makes his way to a medieval town in the valley. Along the way he is deceived by two thieves, Conrad and Gaspar, and painfully (for the reader) loses his innocence in the ways of gambling, trickery and disloyalty. Nearly in prison, he is rescued by the merchant whom he inadvertently robbed, unknowingly becoming his slave. The scenes at the merchant's house, where the merchant's childless wife takes an interest in him, plays with themes of love, guilt and honour but Yoss does not emerge much wiser. The mistress' regard for him has uncomfortable shades of erotic love, though supposedly she is only thinking of him as a surrogate son. The interaction of the resident artist, who is painting the mistress' portrait and the ceiling of the merchant's banqueting hall, with Yoss and the mistress, whispers of Tracy Chevalier's Girl with Pearl Earring but fails to articulate it satisfactorily. There are murders aplenty, together with mentions of illegitimacy and incest, all in keeping with typical notions of medieval goings-on, but the ending is anticlimactic (Yoss returns to his village to live out his days) and he'll lose respect of modern-day teenagers for not understanding much of what is in front of him. Yoss feels like an adult novel dressed up as a book for teenagers purely because it features a teenage protagonist, which in this cross-over age of publishing is bizarre. It may do better as a worthy allegory of a time gone by, but even marketed as an adult novel it won't be flying off the shelves.