Maurice Gee has long been considered one of New Zealand's finest writers. He has written more than thirty books for adults and young adults and has won numerous literary awards, including the UK's James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction, the Wattie Award, the Deutz Medal for Fiction, the New Zealand Fiction Award and the New Zealand Children's Book of the Year Award. Maurice lives in Nelson, in New Zealand's South Island, with his wife Margareta, and has two daughters and a son.
Gr 6-8 In this final volume of Gee's ``O'' fantasy series (Oxford University Pr), Nick and Susan, before they return to earth, must once again save the Land of O, this time from self-destruction with nuclear-type weapons. Helped by old friends, including the Birdfolk, bear-like Vargs, and the great Bloodcat Thief, they must make their way to the Motherstone and a final encounter which transforms all life on O. The story's message is a bleak one: human beings must save themselves from their own destructive natures. Gee, a New Zealand writer, excels at description of physical action; his apt choice of words sweeps the detailed plot along from one tense encounter to the next. Descriptions of characters, on the other hand, seem incomplete, as if the author expects children to know them from the previous volumes. Incidents from the past are referred to with little explanation. For this reason, the series should be read as a whole. Ruth S. Vose, San Francisco Public Library