A modern-day classic that is not to be missed, with stunningly detailed fantasy illustrations by David Wyatt. BookTrust
A few weeks ago I talked about The Legend of Podkin One-ear by Kieran Larwood - my new favourite book. This week I have read the second book from this series - The Gift of Dark Hollow and it is just as good as the first.
Once again it is the bard who is telling the story of our hero Podkin. Along with his sister Paz and baby brother Pook, they are caught up in a series of fierce battles against the Gorm. They have now acquired three more 'gifts' with magical powers which brings their total to four of the twelve from the ancient tribes.
- Starclaw - The magic dagger of Munbury it can cut through anything except iron
- Moonfyre - A brooch that lets you jump in and out of moon shadows the gift of Dark Hollow.
- Ailfew - The magic sickle which is the gift of Redwater Warren.
- Surestrike - The hammer of Applecross can make weapons that pierce the Gorm's armour.
As the group travel to Applecross to retrieve Surestrike they meet Zarza, a bonedancer, Vetch of Golden Brook and Yarrow the bard. Right from the start I didn't trust Vetch and I am fairly sure we will meet him again in future installments.
"He seemed desperate for someone to like him. A bit too desperate perhaps."
"And as for that Vetch, well I trust him about as far as I can throw a giant rat."
"Vetch, wrapped in his exotic cloak, sidled up to Podkin at one point, giving him a nervous smile. His eyes kept darting to the dagger on Podkin's hip."
Vetch returns to Dark Hollow with a rescued farmer, his wife and children. Meanwhile our heroes travel on to Applecross to find and open the mysterious bridge over to Ancients Island. It is a furious race to outrun the Gorm, retrieve Surestrike and make it home. You will be on the edge of your seat gripping your sword and holding your breath through the scenes that follow.
I love all place names and rabbit species we meet in this series - "The other surviving rabbits were refugees from all over Gotland and Enderby. Some were from Munbury and Redwater warrens but there were also sables from Cherrywood and Ivywick, lops from Applecross, and brindle-furred rabbits from Stormwell and Hillbottom. Some came from tiny warrens Podkin had never heard of, like Toadleton and Muggy Pit. There was even a shield maiden all the way from Blackrock."
The gift of Dark Hollow employs a rich vocabulary with words like: priority, brusque, comatose, loamy, vulnerable and bandoliers.
Listen to an audio sample from the first book (page 6-8) and here is one from The Gift of Dark Hollow. Take time to look at the web site of the illustrator David Wyatt it is brilliant.
This is an adventure story, fast paced and tense. It seems that the free rabbits of Enderby will be easily overpowered by the Gorm, with their deadly weapons, armour and devious spies. The fight is to preserve the rabbit race at all costs, but most of all so that rabbits can once again live in peace. The Book Bag
The third book from this series is The Beasts of Grimheart. Due in Australia at the end of October.