This is the first book in the epic "Pellinor" series - four books telling an extraordinary tale of another world. Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child when her family is destroyed in war. She is unaware that she possesses a powerful gift, a gift that marks her as a member of the School of Pellinor. It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true heritage and extraordinary destiny unfolds. Now she and her teacher, Cadvan, must survive a punishing and uncertain journey through a time and place where the dark forces they battle with stem from the deepest recesses of other-worldly terror. In this title, "Lord of the Rings" meets "Ursula Le Guin", for a new generation.
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Australian poet Alison Croggon brings an eye for sensual detail to this heroic fantasy that follows the genre's familiar formula: A humble person is caught up in extraordinary events and led (or sent) on a journey by a wise figure, only to discover eventually that he/she is destined to save the world in an ultimate confrontation between the powers of good and evil. In this case the young person is sixteen-year-old Maedra, who is rescued from slavery by the Bard Cadvan. They share an exhausting journey toward Innail, one of the Bard schools and strongholds that govern the land, and Maedra grows to trust Cadvan as he reluctantly reveals his magical powers in several ambushes from evil creatures. But under duress she, too, begins to discover that she has a Gift--and more. After she has learned to read, ride a horse, and handle a sword at Innail, they set out on another dangerous trek to the prestigious city of Norloch, where Cadvan hopes to consult with his mentor Nelac to confirm his conviction that Maerad is the One who was Foretold. Many other characters and creatures come into this tale, as well as mystical intimations and dreams, and lavish descriptions of landscape, food, clothes, and room furnishings. In the tradition of Tolkien, a whole history of an ancient language and culture undergirds the story, and Croggon has even provided appendices of that history, a pronunciation guide, and an invented bibliography of her sources. Die-hard fantasy fans who can forgive its slow pace will enjoy this richly imagined story and look forward to its sequel, The Riddle. (ages 12 and up) --Patty CampbellFrom the Publisher:
This lavishly produced novel includes maps, Appendices, Notes to Appendices, Author's Note on the Text, and Pronunciation Guide to the "Speech"
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