CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 39 . . . . June 8, 2012
The Wanderers. (The Wind of Life, Book 2).
Vancouver, BC: Purple Branch Publishing, 2011.
163 pp., trade pbk., $8.50.
Grades 8-11 / Ages 13-16.
Review by Chris Laurie.
Rider stood at the lakeshore and stared towards the Mountains. The wind that had brought him the message was gone, but Rider was not alone. A tornado had formed over the great, blue lake and was moving backwards and forwards, twisting and turning, groaning and howling, shushing and singing. Rider closed his eyes and listened without questioning as Qui Natch Ndee revealed herself.
“Rider,” the warm voice echoed in his heart, “you are ready. You have transformed into the Child of the Land, the child I have sought for a long, long time. I am the first of the One People. The Wanderers and the Flyers are from the same bloodline, and you are my direct descendent. Those who wanted power and control broke apart the One People, and their descendants struggle to keep them apart. Their laws are cruel and their beliefs misguided by their hatred and prejudice towards one other. Find Timo, your brother in the Mountains, the Child of the Sky.”
The wind picked up and Rider’s hair stirred lightly, as if a friendly hand were moving gently through it.
The Wanderers, the second volume in Neubert’s “Wind of Life” trilogy, greatly expands the world which was introduced in The Flyers. Fourteen-year-old Rider is the son of Thorn, the Wanderer clan’s tyrannical leader. Rider has always been aware that he is different from others in his clan; he has the gift of being able to feel, hear, and empathize with animals. Unable to allow the killing of an antelope herd on a ritual hunting expedition, Rider warns them away just before the kill. Already impatient with a son so different from him, Thorn beats Rider and banishes him from the village.
As Rider leaves the family home, his mother whispers to him to “find the Rescuers and Mot”. Through the ages, the Elders have told stories from the Old Book that the evil War Flyers once tried to kill the Wanderers. It is also rumoured that Flyers are being born to Wanderers and then disappearing. Knowing deep inside that Mot will be able to answer these questions, Rider sets off.
Later that day, Rider encounters Net, a young lady fleeing from soldiers with her infant sister. Thorn has ordered the infant killed because she is a Flyer. With a renewed sense of purpose, the group continues towards Mot’s home in the Dead Willow Grove. Upon arrival, the trio meets not only Mot, but Flyers Aldor and Dodor who have come to rescue the infant.
Meanwhile, in an effort to seize power across the lands, Thorn accuses the Flyers of kidnapping the clan’s children and declares war, summoning armies from neighbouring villages.
Mot reveals to Rider that long ago the Wanderers and the Flyers were One People and that he is the Child of the Land, the one whose destiny it is to join with the Child of the Sky and reunite the two peoples. The Child of the Sky is Timo, whom Rider must find. Both of them will then receive the Spirit Knowledge which will help them overcome Thorn’s and the Lord of the War Flyers’ efforts to annihilate any chance of reuniting the One People. In a huge plot twist, Rider and his father have a final confrontation, and, in a shocking shift in power, allegiances shift and the battle lines are redrawn.
The Wanderers takes readers further into the compelling and complex world that Neubert introduced in The Flyers. Engaging characters and a fully realized mythology continue to create a truly exciting adventure. Rider is a strong-minded and caring young man, struggling to come to terms with a father who can’t see the good in him. Issues of family, identity, belonging and forgiveness are woven into a nonstop adventure set in a fascinating world not too unlike our own. A huge cast of supporting characters is so well drawn and introduced so briefly as to whet readers’ appetite for more.
The stage is set for the climactic third novel. It will be fascinating to watch the author tie the multitude of characters, mythologies and storylines together.
A short preview of Book Three, Vita, can be found after the conclusion of this novel.
BC author Oliver Neubert has previous published three books in the “Chantel’s Quest” trilogy.
Chris Laurie is an Outreach Librarian at the Winnipeg Public Library, in Winnipeg, MB.
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