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The Wind Singer (The wind on fire) Paperback – 1 May 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Mammoth; New edition edition (1 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749744715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749744717
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 503,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Nicholson was born in 1948 and received his early education at Downside School, a Roman Catholic monastic school, set in the countryside near Bath.

He went on to study English Literature at Christ's College, Cambridge, graduating with a double First Class degree in 1970. After leaving university, William joined BBC television, where he worked as a documentary film maker. It was not long before William's talent was channelled into writing for television dramas and his professional writing career took off.

William is perhaps best known as an acclaimed Hollywood screenwriter, whose work includes Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the Bafta award-winning Shadowlands, and Oscar-winning Gladiator.

He has written several screenplays for films due for future release, including Long Walk to Freedom, an adaptation of Nelson Mandela's autobiography.

Nicholson's first trilogy for young readers, The Wind on Fire, met with universal acclaim. Winner of the Smarties Gold Award and the Blue Peter Book Award. Nicholson's latest trilogy the Noble Warriors has also been enthusiastically received. The final book Noman is published on 4th September 2007:

'The events rip along, but the real strength of Nicholson's novel lies in its wonderful characters: Morning Star, drowning in the power of her love for Wildman, and Echo Kittle, captured by the enemy of Orlans' Daily Telegraph

His latest book, the highly anticipated Rich and Mad is a compelling and beautifully written novel about first love, first sex, and everything in-between.

Nicholson has been cited as one of the most gifted and imaginative writers alive in the world today. His adult titles include The Trial of True Love and The Society of Others.

William lives in Sussex with his wife Virginia, and their three children.

Product Description

Amazon Review

The Wind Singer is the first novel in a trilogy that holds enormous promise--and looks set to deliver on that promise. Set in a time that could be many years in the future, or perhaps even in the past, in a world that has somehow been lost in time, the people are divided into groups according to how well they perform in The High Examination. If they fail, they are de-classed, if they pass they are promoted and allowed to live in the more attractive spaces of the city of Aramanth. Disloyalty, or indeed any form of behaviour that does not fit into the grand plan of those with the power, is dealt with harshly.

Kestrel and Bowman Hath are twins, and we first meet them on the day their baby sister is about to take her first test. She fails, but the family is disgraced further when Kestrel is labelled as a "wild child" and is sent to Special Teaching--a place from which she may never escape--and her father is banished to the Residential Study Course. But Kestrel has met the Emperor, and he told her the history of the Wind Singer--the monument that overlooks the city but no longer has a voice.

What follows is an intense adventure following the children as they embark on a dangerous journey beneath the city and through the Underlake--a stinking lake of decomposing matter that is bigger than Aramath itself and is inhabited by the real, and sometimes extremely dangerous, underclasses--as they search for the Wind Singer's voice. The journey leads them to the very heart of the evil that has taken control of the city, and with their new friend, Mumpo, in tow, they endeavour to wade through the darkness in their extraordinary search for truth.

The Wind Singer is a truly imaginative, fantastical and distinctive adventure story that grips from the very beginning and absolutely refuses to let go, even at the very end of the book. Cinematic in his approach (the descriptions of the people and places are indeed so large and vivid that you can almost smell them as well as imagine them), William Nicholson taps into the nerve centre of the reader, introducing characters that invoke passion--and compassion--and putting them in situations that are at times so intense that it is almost possible to imagine you are there with them as they wade through the dangerous underbelly of their world in the hunt for light.

As challenging as it is entertaining, The Wind Singer is a book that will surely make its mark on the memory of the reader, and will appeal as much to adults who enjoy fantasy writing as it will to younger readers. Age 11 and over. --Susan Harrison --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Zoe on 5 May 2002
Format: Paperback
I bought this book on impulse, put off reading it for several days, and then finally got around to it on a wet Sunday afternoon. About four heart-rending, nail-biting, stomach-churning hours later I ran out of my house, got into my car, drove into town and bought the sequel. Then I went on line and bought the final installment of the trilogy from Amazon.
This book is, in a word, amazing. A review on the back compares it to Star Wars, and it is correct. The scope of this book is astonishing, and what is equally astonishing is how warm-hearted and human it manages to remain despite its epic qualities.
Having read several reviews here on Amazon that complain about unanswered questions in the book, I should like to point out that it is the FIRST in a TRILOGY. If all the questions were answered then why would you go back and read it's sequels? Of course some of the deeper and more profound themes are not neatly tied in a bow - though I can assure you that they are eventually. What is important is that the individual story-lines and character conflicts within each individual volume are satisfactorially resolved by the end of each book.
I would also like to say that while I enjoyed the 'His Dark Materials' trilogy from Phillip Pullman, I don't consider them superior to this series of books in any way, mostly because I found Pullman's grasp of children's development under pressure to be a little superficial. He does not convey, as Nicholson does, the way that people, regardless of age, can be transformed into something base, glorious or dangerous depending on circumstance, while still remaining themselves.
In closing, I would advise any parent to buy these books for their children - but don't let them get their hands on them until you've read 'The Wind on Fire' first.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Feb 2001
Format: Paperback
Let me start by saying this is a book for someone with a broad imagination,and if you want to believe in this book,why not? It's about city and this city is abit different from other citys:It's divided into four district White,Maroon,Orange and Grey(being the lowest) now if you did bad in the High Examination you'd be moved down a district(meaning you'd live in worse conditions)Well one day a girl named Kestrel is had enough of this;She runs away from school saying she won't do any more exams.If she finds the voice of the sacred wind singer and all will be well but the Chief Examiner:Maslo Inch has some suprises...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Sep 2001
Format: Paperback
William Nicholson grabbed my attention from the first page and didn't let go until I had read the final word. The characters were believable and I was swept into their world of excitement.
Kestrel Hath was a likeable character and the story was full of suspense. Although I knew how the story would end, I didn't know how events would unfold.
I can't wait to read Slaves of the Mastery.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hugh Evans on 14 Feb 2004
Format: Paperback
FANTASTIC! This book is the first in "The Wind On Fire" trilogy by William Nicholson, and I must say, this book is really worth scheduling some reading time each day.
Set in the city of Aramanth, The Wind Singer has not sung for a very long time. Kestrel Hath, along with her brother, Bowman, and local school drop-out Mumpo, must travel to the mountains of the north and retrieve The Wind Singer's voice so that all hatred in Aramanth will be no more.
Along the way they will meet many new and great friends, as well as vicious enemies. This book is recommended to anyone over the age of 11, although I think anyone could enjoy it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Jan 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an amazing book filled with excitment, tension and adventure. If you enjoyed Harry Potter well this matched or maybe even beat it.
It's an epic adventure about a brother and a sister on the quest to get the wind singer's voice. It is just waiting to ambush the bestseller list unless it already has.
AMAZING FOR ANYONE!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 15 July 2001
Format: Paperback
...I've read most of Philip Pullman's books, the Harry Potters and several others, but there is something about the writing style of this book (and the sequel) that sets it apart - it has that undefinable quality of picking the exact words to fit a situation, thus rendering long descriptive passages unnecessary; it has fast-paced excitement and best of all, it is not predictable.
On the face of it, some of the characters seem very one-dimensional - intentionally so, as we then explore why they are like that and see them develop into more rounded characters; OK, there is a slight moralising influence here, but certainly no more than C.S. Lewis, or Tolkein for that matter.
This is one of those few books that transport you into a different world, completely visualised in your mind's eye, knowing exactly what the characters look like (probably different for each reader!) and almost compelling your interaction with the personalities of the characters.
Thoroughly recommended!
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By A Customer on 13 Mar 2001
Format: Paperback
If you like the work of Philip Pullman you will love this exciting adventure story. You will find it hard to put down. A definite page turner. The Wind Singer is the first volume of The Wind on Fire, and I hope the next one is as gripping as the first! There are three main characters, a brother, sister and their friend who could be just like your friends at school. However, they live in another world in a different time, where their life is governed by rules, exams and performance. These are all set by the Chief Examiner who is an impostor and 'bad guy'. The sister hates this regime and she persuades her brother and friend to join her on the quest to change or destroy it. The characters somehow find the true ruler of the their land. The ruler gives them a map which they use for their quest. A major and exciting part of the story is the characters eventful and perilous journey, by foot, across the wastelands. Which in the end should bring them to the key which will be the end of the regime. But will it?
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