________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 4 . . . . October 12, 2007

cover

The Twilight Box. (Tales of Terre II).

Troon Harrison.
Weston, CT: Brown Barn Books (Distributed in Canada by Publishers Group Canada), 2007.
362 pp., pbk., $10.95.
ISBN 978-0-9768126-7-8.

Subject Headings:
Identity-Fiction.
Fantasy.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Ronald Hore.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.

excerpt:

A tug on his sleeve made him turn.

“Mia! What are you – how did you – ?

”The sea urchin stared up at him, her eyes beseeching dark pools in her brown face. “I swam out to the ship before it sailed from Verde,” she confessed, “and climbed up the anchor chain and slipped inside and hid.”

Ambro shook his head in amazement; only Mia could have managed such a feat. A scrap of an eleven year old, she had joined the sea urchins the previous winter after running away from a group of traveling players. She could juggle smooth beach pebbles until they spun in a continuous blurred circle; turn back flips or tuck her toes behind her ears as though she possessed seaweed for a spine; play her hurdy-gurdy and dance at the same time. Indeed, she carried this instrument still, fastened to her back with a worn strap of green leather and wrapped in a casing of waterproof fish skin.

For one moment, Ambro felt delight at seeing a familiar face, but this feeling was swiftly replaced with apprehension. How would his Kiffa-walker relatives receive him with this disheveled child in tow? What if Mia ruined his fine new chance of belonging somewhere?”

 

The Twilight Box is the second volume in a fantasy series set in the land of Terre. The writer draws a complex and detailed picture of this world. The main characters in this tale, with one exception, are not taken from the first book. This can be an advantage to those readers for who have not read the first tale, or have forgotten it, can jump right in without feeling they are missing something.

     The first protagonist readers meet is Ambro, a 16-year-old youth who was shipwrecked and orphaned at the age of two and brought up on a remote island. He joins the crew of a ship of Kiffa-walkers in the hope of finding his lost relatives and his homeland. These are merchant people, and after adventures, he reaches their capital city, Safala. At this point, readers are introduced to another important character, Noleena, a 15-year-old worker in a temple in the capital. She is a member of the Wind-wanderers, a desert folk oppressed by the Kiffa-walkers. Noleena must undertake a dangerous quest across the desert to a lost temple in an effort to free her people from slavery. It is not surprising that Ambro and Noleena come into conflict as, when they first meet, they represent the two different sides. One unusual character who links the two together is the little entertainer, Mia.

     There is a full page map at the beginning of the book to assist in picturing the setting. This soft cover book is broken into 23 chapters. In addition, it contains four pages from the first book, The Separated, and three pages of reviews for that novel.

     This volume raises some serious matters such as the issue of race and what it can mean to be perceived as “different.” The story involves magical creatures, an evil sorceress, and youthful, romantic stirrings. It touches on slavery and brutality, put forward in a well-written tale that will be appreciated by those who love fantasy. Where the first book in the series was written with a medieval Italian flavour, this tale reads more like something out of the Arabian Nights which is not a bad setting for a story that takes place in another world where magic can be part of the daily life.

Recommended.

Ronald Hore, involved with writer’s groups and writer’s workshops for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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