Maurice Gee is one of New Zealand's best-known writers, for both adults and children. He has won a number of literary awards, including the Wattie Award (twice), the Montana Award, and the New Zealand Fiction Award (four times). He has also won the New Zealand Children's Book of the Year Award. Maurice Gee's novels include the three books in the Plumb trilogy, Going West (winner of the Wattie award), Prowlers, Live Bodies (winner of the Montana Award) and Ellie and the Shadow Man. He has also written a number of children's novels, the most recent being The Fat Man, Orchard Street and Hostel Girl. Maurice lives in Wellington with his wife Margareta and they have three children.
Celebrated New Zealand writer Gee (The Fire Raiser) returns to YA fantasy with this gritty, dystopian tale, the first volume in the Salt Trilogy. Hari lives in Blood Burrow, a hellacious, rat-infested slum. Long ago his dark-skinned people were conquered by Company (a fair-skinned, corporate society from across the ocean) and gradually forced into slavery ("Who joins Company joins history. Your time begins," drones a clerk as new workers are branded with acid). Pearl is a pampered daughter of Company, her only purpose in life to be married off to cement one of her father's political alliances. When both young people, who share rare psychic gifts, revolt against their fates, they find themselves on a desperate journey across a hostile landscape, with the forces of Company at their heels. Later, as Company teeters on the brink of civil war, they must overcome their mutual distrust to save Hari's father from a horrific fate and destroy their enemy's deadly secret weapon. A compelling tale of anger and moral development that also powerfully explores the evils of colonialism and racism. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Gr 7 Up-In this dystopian fantasy, the people of the burrows are little more than slaves to Company. When his father is taken by the Whips and sent to work in Deep Salt, Hari vows to rescue him. He meets Pearl, the daughter of a Company official, who is fleeing an unwanted marriage, and Tealeaf, Pearl's teacher and companion. They are traveling to Tealeaf's village so that Pearl can develop her gift of mindspeaking. When Tealeaf discovers that Hari is able to speak with animals, she invites him to join them. Hari and Pearl soon discover that the substance being mined drains the workers and leaves them empty husks-and that Company is attempting to form it into a weapon to take over the world. Salt succeeds in being not only plot driven and fast paced, but also character oriented. Readers will appreciate the growing friendship between dark-skinned, aggressive Hari and lily-white, pampered Pearl as they discover that they are not as dissimilar as they believed. Gee presents a well-realized future New Zealand, and even those unfamiliar with the landscape will be able to picture the cities, forests, and coasts. A map allows readers to follow the path of the three adventurers, and the spare language makes this first novel in a trilogy accessible to reluctant readers. The dominant themes of prejudice and governmental oppression are subtly presented and do not overpower the action-filled plot. Salt will delight lovers of dystopic fantasies and leave them anxious for the second installment.-Karen E. Brooks-Reese, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.