The Raging Quiet
by Sherryl Jordan
The New Zealand-based author of The Hunting of the Last Dragon
created a medieval fantasy about a young woman who discovers that "being
different" can be the unforgivable sin.
After only two miserable days of marriage to the middle son of her
parents' feudal landlord, Marnie Isherwood becomes a widow in a tiny,
unkempt cottage near a strange, unfriendly village. Her only friends are
the village priest and the local "mad boy," whose name Marnie changes
from Raver to Raven. Soon Marnie realizes that Raven is deaf, not mad.
She invents a language of hand-signs to communicate with him,
penetrating his world of anguish and confusion, and showing him
compassion where he has only known cruelty.
But the local people don't take kindly to Marnie. For a variety of
stupid, superstitious reasons--not least of which is the malice of a
brother-in-law who wants to evict her from the cottage--Marnie is branded
as a witch. And her sign-language with Raven is interpreted as some kind
of spell-weaving. The result is a drama of gripping intensity, combined
with a gentle love story, a low-key mystery, and an exploration of the
unexpected ways in which good and evil manifest themselves.
If I have one bone to pick with this novel, it is that Marnie's
self-possessed nature--which makes her such a wonderful character--is out
of step with the age in which her tale is set. But according to the
author's note at the end of the story, the characters of Marnie and
Raven are what made the story happen, and the choice of a
fantasy-medieval setting came later, because it almost seemed a shame to
spoil the purity of the story with extraneous historical details. Maybe
this is an insight into how some of the best fantasy stories are
Recommended Age: 15+
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