, the unearthly novel from Catherine Fisher is one full of history, mystery, myth and magic. Drawing on the authors passion for archaeology, and set against a landscape steeped in legend near her Wye Valley home, she creates an atmospheric narrative that is every bit as spooky as it is dramatic.
Robs sister Chloe lies in a coma in hospital after a riding accident and he is an uncomfortable weekly visitor to her bedside. In an effort to distract himself from the trauma in his personal life, Rob uses his skill at art to get a job on a secretive local dig. His new employer, Dr Kavanagh, is desperate to preserve the operations anonymity and warns Rob not to reveal what they are up to. If news leaked that they had found the remains of a prehistoric wooden circle, the media blitz would be catastrophic.
Rob, however, quickly has other things on his mind. Nearby he inadvertently meets what he thinks is a harmless bunch of hippies and he witnesses the resurrection of an apparently shape-shifting Druid called Vetch. The man claims to be centuries old and born at a time when the wooden circle, Darkhenge, was first built. He also claims knowledge of his sisters accident and he promises Rob the key to another Unworld where Chloe he says is imprisoned--if he helps him breach the digs security cordon. Compliance leads Rob into a world where imagination and magic are limitless.
Fisher has been writing likeable and intriguing novels for young teen readers like this for several years, and as an author she deserves wider acclaim and attention. Her recent Ancient Egyptian-flavoured books, for instance, a sequence which began with The Oracle, are of particular merit. Readers who have yet to discover this author will be pleasantly surprised. (Age 10 and over) --John McLay
"Catherine Fisher is a writer of rare talent" (The Sunday Times
"A subtle thriller with passages of intense description interspersed with the plot full of excitement" (The School Librarian
"Fisher is a hugely talented writer . . . This is a dark and brooding fantasy" (Sainsbury's Magazine
"Fisher conveys complex human emotions through fantasy, teen angst has rarely had such a visceral expression as in the boggy, unpredictable wilderness of Chloe's self-created prison" (Booklist
"A fantastic story" (Teen Titles
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