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The Tree is all the world... and that world is dying...
After Samiha is thrown from the docks in Argos City, Tymon is condemned to a life of slavery in a Tree-mine. During his ordeals, he glimpses a vision of his love and becomes obsessed by the thought that she is still alive. When disaster strikes the mine, he is left wandering the tunnels at the heart of the Tree, clinging to the hope that he might find her once again.
Meanwhile, the Saint's crusade is tearing the Four Canopies apart, and Lace and his Masters pursue their own deadly plans. Even as Tymon travels deep into the Tree, the Envoy's acolytes are sent out on a mission to Lacuna, the legendary World Below...
A planned trilogy is often staged in a fairly standardised manner - the first book is all about introduction - characters, world, plot, special features. The second book is plot development - setting the stage, covering the overarching back-story, and then finally kicking the plot into high gear by setting up all the key 'lead-in's... this leaves the third book free to pursue the plot and characters, build the tension and set everything up for those last 1 or 2 key chapters that nail it all into place. This... this is that vital third book in the Chronicles of The tree trilogy. This is where it all comes to a head, and a resolution.
I must say that I always find it tough to get into fantasy, especially if it is 'fantasy' enough to be unreal, yet somehow still plausible... and the revelations that come out in this book make the unreality seem totally unexpected. And you can trust me when I say there are more than a few revelations in this tale. The origins of The Born, the Dark Masters and the Tree of Being metaverse, the location of The World Tree, the true nature of Lacuna, The Oracle/Ama and the final resting place of Samiha. Frankly, the last 150 pages were some of the most tension-filled and thrilling pages I have read in the last 10 years of reviewing books!
I won't speak on the characters' depth and reality, the masterful subtlety of the plot, etc - been there done that in the reviews of the previous two books, but what I can and will say is that this is some of the best work I have seen come out of the New Zealand fantasy/fiction scene in years. I am keen to see what else Mary puts out in the future, because if this is her opening gambit, there's more to come for sure.
Random listing from 'Books'...
Lily's half brother Adam is on the autism spectrum. Adam has always loved dolphins, so when her stepfather Don - an oncologist - hears about a young dolphin with cancer, he offers to help. He brings Lily and Adam along, and Adam and the dolphin Nori bond instantly.
Lily can see how much Adam needs Nori, but she knows that the dolphin should not spend the rest of her life in captivity. Can she help Nori regain her freedom without betraying her family.
Based on a true story.
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