About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Crossing by Mandy Hager

The Crossing (Random House, 2009)
I loved this book, the first of a trilogy called The Blood of the Lamb series. Set on a remote island somewhere in Kiribati in a post apocalyptic world, the novel is filled with snippets of Gilbertese culture, from toddy drinking to public shaming. Some Gilbertese phrases and terms are also used. The descriptions of noddies and frigate birds, the swell and cycles of the reef are all so clear that the tropics come alive in this book and make it a sensuous treasure.
   But the plot is a sinister one. Maryam is one of the chosen ones, an islander who is raised away from her island of Onewere on a small atoll where children are indoctrinated to follow the teachings of Saul, the founding father of the Apostles of the Lamb. The apostles are the descendants of Europeans shipwrecked at Onewere during the Tribulation (solar flares which brought destruction to most of the Earth). They live in the remains of their ship the Star of the Sea.
   The chosen ones are selcted to serve the Apostles and Maryam is determined to be a dutiful servant. When the time comes for her to cross over to the rotting ship she finds life is far from idyllic. She is nothing more than a slave, doomed to die. With the help of some unlikely friends Maryam plans her escape.
   This book has quite a gothic feel to it when the blood-thirsty motives of the sect leaders are revealed. The pace is fast and the characters are plausible and interesting. It had me gripped right to the last pages. Exciting and disturbing. A terrific read.

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