The story picks up with the flight of the Hath family, and their crew of other willing Manth families and friends, away from the ruined Mastery. After the defeat of the Master, alone and displaced, they seek a new homeland but have no real destination and very little food. Ira Hath leads the way, prophesising their eventual success but also her own, sad demise. Bowman and Kestrel Hath, brother and sister, carry burdens of their own. Bowman, in particular, is anxious. He awaits a summons from the Sirene, and must make a great sacrifice for his people. The journey is long, and his preparation is tough--especially in the unforgiving hands of an unexpected teacher.
As with the previous two volumes, there are some wonderfully exciting moments of action, as well as vivid landscapes and colourful characters. Last time it was Mumpo in gladiatorial combat--this time it is the dramatic attempted rescue of the Manth women who fall into the grubby hands of a desert people.
So after all of this, the ending is definitely worth waiting for--and very emotional. There are some surprising twists and turns, and a truly satisfying conclusion. Yet, despite all three books being so immensely well-written and popular, it remains to be seen whether or not this author will continue to write novels for children as well as screenplays for Hollywood (his other job). Write to your MP if he doesn't, but make sure you read his next book if he does. (Ages 10 and over) --John McLay
‘The first two volumes of the trilogy marked the arrival of a striking new voice in children’s writing… the warmth of feeling and touches of comedy make the trilogy a triumph.’ Times
‘The novel has the powerful imaginative energy and emotional force that are a hallmark of Nicholson’ screenplays.’ Sunday Times
‘Nicholson has won a devoted audience with his seeker fiction. His books are bestsellers…they are marketed as children’s books but are fast developing a following among adults too. Nicholson offers the potent combination of a gripping narrative and a questing intelligence…’ Daily Telegraph
‘Nicholson’s achievement is worthy of acclaim and should mellow into a classic.’ Times