Author(s): Maurice Gee
This gripping, page-turning fantasy adventure follows a dangerous quest through a divided world. From the high reaches of a tree, Fliss watches the soldiers attempting yet again to break through the invisible wall. Amid the explosions, a drummer boy tries to escape. As he is about to be shot, Fliss reaches through the wall and pulls him to safety. But Fliss is dismayed to find she has saved an overfed rich boy. She is even more dismayed to learn that she must accompany him back through the wall on a special mission to rescue the Nightingale.
The world they have to travel through is a perilous one, full of predatory thieves, slave masters, beggars, dippers, mudlarks, drain-sliders, spies and wall-men. It is a world where the ruling families are caught up in a lethal power struggle. Will Fliss and the despised drummer boy learn to trust each other? Who is the Nightingale? And will they all make it back alive?
When runaway slave Fliss saves an escaping drummer boy, Kirt, by pulling him through the invisible wall that divides two lands, it sets off a quest to rescue his sister and ensure that the barrier keeping out the tyrannical southerners survives. At first Fliss is angry that she has saved a member of the rich and pampered family that had enslaved her and even angrier to learn that she must accompany him back through the wall to free the blind Lorna from imprisonment. But the Old One, the last surviving guardian of the wall, is ailing fast and Lorna appears to be the key to its survival.
It has been seven years since Maurice Gee's last YA novel, The Limping Man (the third book in his Salt trilogy) was published, so a new fantasy adventure is cause for celebration. Gee does not disappoint. His beautiful, spare prose describes a violent and cruel world of slave masters, beggars and predatory thieves, where the ruling families jostle for power. Fliss is tough and resourceful, the result of years of surviving on the streets; Kirt is a hothead bent on revenge. Somehow they must learn to trust each other if they are to fulfil the Old One's request.
The Severed Land is a magical, yet grounded, tale of greed and oppression, of rebellion and, ultimately, good over evil. Highly recommended for age 12+; it contains some brutal scenes.
Winner of the 2017 Copyright Licensing NZ Young Adult Fiction Award at the NZ Book Awards for Children & Young Adults.
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. In 2003 he received an inaugural New Zealand Icon Award and in 2004 he received a Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement.
Maurice Gee's novels include the Plumb trilogy, Going West, Prowlers, Live Bodies and The Scornful Moon. He has also written a number of children's novels, the most recent being Salt and Gool.
Maurice lives in Nelson, in New Zealand's South Island, with his wife Margareta, and has two daughters and a son.