Power of Three
by Diana Wynne Jones
Things come in threes in this book. Three Powers-- the Old, Middle, and New. Three Peoples who live on the moor-- the People of the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth. Three children of the "sun people" chief Gest and his wise-woman wife Adara: by name, Ayna, Ceri, and Gair. And that's just for starters.
Though his brother and sister have powerful gifts, Gair believes he is completely ordinary. This fosters a solitary, thoughtful streak in his personality, a touch of melancholy, and a lack of understanding between him and his father. But Gair is actually extraordinary, in three ways in particular. I wouldn't dream of giving them away. But as one event follows another, Gair finds a kindred spirit among each of the other two Peoples-- making another circle of three.
I have to back up a little. I can't help it. This story is simply too rich and its weaving too sophisticated to break down into an easy summary. But imagine that there are three races that live on the same moor in mutual distrust and even, at times, violent enmity. There are Gair's people, who think of themselves as "people" but are known to the others as Lymen. There are Hafny's people, who also think of themselves as "people," but are known to the lymen as Dorig. And then there are the Giants, who also think of themselves as "people," and don't seem to know the other two exist. It may be a surprise, but not a big surprise, when you find out who the Giants are.
Each race has its own magic and its own way of life. Each seems to think it is the only civilized people with a right to live there. And all three are endangered by their own ignorance, pride, and distrust of the others.
The three Peoples can't seem to work things out and live together in peace. And this is sad, because all three of them live under a terrible threat. I'm not just talking about the plans to flood the moor and turn it into a reservoir. I'm talking about the golden collar, pulsating with an evil curse, that is poisoning the livelihood and relationships of all three peoples. And nothing short of the gifts of Gair and his brother and sister, and the chance of sworn enemies learning to work together, can end the curse and save the moor. Nothing, except, perhaps, an awful sacrifice.
I think you will enjoy this exciting, suspenseful story. It is filled with deep magic and a message of understanding and cooperation between cultures. It is also filled with the colorful details of strange and hidden ways of life, beautiful characters, and the sinister menace of a horseshoe-shaped piece of finely wrought gold. Evil comes in unexpected shapes, just as heroism comes in all kinds of packages. Enlarging to the mind, touching to the heart, this is a story to share.
Recommended Age: 12+
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