'Kira saw that she was surrounded by hostile women who had come from their cotts and were watching Vandara for instructions and leadership. Several, she noticed, had rocks in their hands. If one rock were thrown, others would follow, she knew. They were all waiting for the first...' When Kira is summoned to judgement by the Council of the Guardians to resolve a village conflict, Kira knows she is fighting for her life. In this challenging vision of the future, society is not technoogically advanced, and is tough and unforgiving, with every member having to prove their place. Kira has a withered leg and up till now has had her mother to protect her. With her mother gone, Kira will need to use every ounce of cunning, wit and bravery to ensure her continued acceptance - and even survival. A compelling, thought-provoking vision of a future society from an award-winning author.
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publisher and industry reviews
UK Kirkus review
Lois Lowry is already highly acclaimed in both America and Britain for her many books for young people; two of her works, Number the Stars and The Giver, have earned her the celebrated Newbery Medal. This enthralling novel is set in a grim, futuristic society, whose inhabitants have reverted to an existence reminiscent of the Stone Age. Kira, the heroine of the story, is maintaining a vigil by her dead mother's body, waiting for her spirit to leave. But her mother's death not only deprives Kira of her only parent but leaves her exposed to the cruelties of the rest of the tribe. Only the fit and healthy are deemed worthy of consideration, and as a cripple, deprived of her mother's protection, Kira's future looks bleak. A confrontation with Vandara, an old enemy who is determined to requisition Kira's land for herself, brings her before the Council of the Guardians. Here the enigmatic Jamison offers her a lifeline - she must use her almost magical skills at sewing to repair the famed Singer's robe which is worn for the annual Gathering of the tribe. But all is not as it seems - she is not the only gifted child to be given protection by the Guardians. Thomas, who has a remarkable talent for woodcarving, and little Jo, the child with the singing voice of an angel, are also housed in comfort in the vast Edifice which survived the Ruin. As the day of the Gathering approaches, Kira becomes increasingly suspicious - her young friend Matt disappears and the old woman who trained her in the arts of fabric-working dies in mysterious circumstances. As the book nears its thrilling denouement, Matt returns with woad, the plant used to make the blue dye Kira needs to finish the robe. He also brings back the one person who can tell Kira the truth and hold out to her the hope of a brighter future. Lowry's novel will enthral and move her young readers in equal measure. In Kira she has created a heroine who is fiercely loyal, who will stop at nothing to defend what she believes to be right. She portrays a society steeped in poverty and wretchedness, but also offers up an alternative for those, like Kira and her friends, who are prepared to fight for it. (Kirkus UK)
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