Sun Catcher by Sheila Rance

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Sun Catcher by Sheila Rance

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: Flame-haired Maia has known she was different from the Cave Dwellers since the day many years before when she and her father Tareth were washed up, half-drowned, on their beach. But now she is thirteen, and her destiny as the Sun Catcher who must save a distant land from failed harvests and starvation is slowly revealed to her.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: March 2013
Publisher: Orion
ISBN: 9781444006209

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The Bronze Age is an intriguing time, where the fight for survival and the harshness of greed and war co-exist seamlessly with the fabrication of beautiful artefacts and a profound belief in occult mysteries tied to the seasons and the natural world. Tareth, the crippled weaver, earns his keep in the community which rescued him and his daughter from the sea by making and dying brightly coloured cloths to sell at the annual Gather. But he has another, more secret skill. While Maia sleeps he spends his nights, almost against his own will, weaving an extraordinary silken garment for her, one which whispers to her of her far-away home and her dark destiny. For she is no ordinary girl but a princess of the Eagle People and the chosen heir to the sun stone. This stone is a revered and powerful crystal which is needed to channel the sun and use it to warm the land at the end of each winter, and without it famine and cold reign eternally. At the same time, it extracts a terrible price from the Catcher, causing her intense pain and eventually blinding her. In a bid to protect the infant Maia from her fate Tareth stole and hid the stone, and fled with her across the sea.

But a destiny as solemn and important as Maia's cannot easily be evaded, and when her Naming Day arrives Maia begins to learn, despite Tareth's efforts, exactly who she is. She also realises that there are many who would willingly kill her to possess the power the stone can give, and from that moment on her life is in constant danger.

Like the well-known and well-loved Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver, this wonderful story shows both the simplicity of Bronze Age life, which relies utterly on the vagaries of nature, and the complexity of thought and belief people were capable of at the time. We meet several tribes, ranging from the Untouchables who farm the huge lizards which live along the sea shore to the fierce warriors of the Wolf Kin who attack the coastal settlements with their terrifying wulfen familiars. The book is well-researched and convincing, using a few simple phrases (sun-wake, sea-rise and hand-fast among them) to create vividly the atmosphere of the era and the attitudes of the various tribes without losing the immediacy and emotion of its theme. It is an exciting and engrossing tale, and readers will be happy to know that while this story is complete in itself, another two books about Maia and her companions are promised.

If you enjoy this splendid mix of the distant past, thrilling adventure and a strong belief in the powers of the natural world, you will also love the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver. Bookbag particularly recommends Oath Breaker and Ghost Hunter.

Buy Sun Catcher by Sheila Rance at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sun Catcher by Sheila Rance at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Sun Catcher by Sheila Rance at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sun Catcher by Sheila Rance at Amazon.com.

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