The Prince and the Scholar by S. J. Revich
As evening falls, a surge of excitement ripples through the little village of Kalim, tucked away in the remote mountains of Morocco. Once again, the children have prevailed (without too much difficulty) on Old Machlouf, the Ancient Storyteller of Kalim, to regale the village with another wondrous tale of distant and exotic places. A hush falls on the crowd, and the storyteller begins to weave his magical spell as the fabulous tale unfolds. This time, the storyteller takes his avid listeners on an exciting journey many hundreds of years back in time to a powerful Jewish kingdom north of the Black Sea, in the heart of what is now Russia. Yes, in the midst of the long and oppressive exile of the Jewish people, there was once a Jewish king and Jewish armies, a great and wealthy kingdom feared and respected by its barbaric neighbors. This kingdom, which was called Khazaria, has long since passed into the mists of history, but many of its glorious tales live on in the memories of storytellers like Old Machlouf of Kalim. As the story unfolds, young Prince Cusar and his clever friend Issac join a Khazarian expedition to the frontiers of the kingdom, with quite unexpected results. In "The Prince and the Scholar", the sixth volume in the "Tales From the East" series, the author has once again woven a delightful and exceedingly colorful tale, full of heroes and villains, and clever youths whose courage and resourcefulness save the day.