Book review

Slaves of the Mastery by William Nicholson (2001)

It's about five years since twins Kestrel and Bowman Hath, and hanger-on Mumpo, brought the voice of the wind singer back to the great city of Aramanth, and restored all the citizens to a proper and peaceful way of life. You should see Kestrel now. She's growing up. She's just turned fifteen:

Mumpo wasn't listening. He was watching Kestrel. In common with many of the younger set, she cropped her hair short and ragged, and wore faded black robes in reaction against the multi-coloured look favoured by the older people. Her face was odd and bony and wide-mouthed, not beautiful in the usual way: but there was about her a restless intensity that drew and held the attention. To Mumpo, she was entirely beautiful. More than beautiful: she was so alive that sometimes he felt her to be life itself, or the source of life. When those eager black eyes met his, he felt the jolt of her vitality, and everything around him seemed brighter and more sharp-edged.

Well, everyone's grown up a bit, Mumpo too. He always did adore Kestrel, but he knows he loves her now, and would ask her to marry him, if only he didn't already know that she would refuse him. She'd refuse anyone at the moment though. She just isn't ready to marry yet.

Perhaps that is because the ties with her brother, Bowman, are still so deep, as they have been all her life. As twins who share the same thoughts, they both really only feel complete when they are with each other. So, the separation when it comes wrenches at their very soul.

What happens? The city of Aramanth is overwhelmed in a single night by bloody onslaught from Marius Semeon Ortiz and his raiding force from the Mastery. The whole city is destroyed by fire and the Manth people are taken into slavery. But somehow Kestrel is overlooked and left behind.

Of course, she does not seek to escape the enslavement herself. She needs to be reunited with her family, especially her beloved Bowman, but being the girl that she is, she seeks nothing less than to rescue her people from captivity.

You will have to read the book to see how she does it. She doesn't do it alone, of course. She has inside help from her brother, Bowman, who is a very troubled young man, as you will discover. And Mumpo undergoes quite a transformation from neglected child to, well, read the book - he's just brilliant!

This is a tremendous sequel to The Wind Singer. I enjoyed it enormously. It is full of fantastic characters and landscapes, with chilling moments of suspense, drama and pain. Highly recommended!

What can I read next?

This book is the second part of a trilogy. Read them in order:

If you are looking for something similar to read, I think you might be interested in Stephen Elboz:

Or possibly Philip Pullman's trilogy:

You could have a look at this one by Louis Sachar:

And this new one by Kate Thompson might catch your eye:

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