Isobelle Carmody is one of Australia's most highly acclaimed authors of fantasy. At fourteen, she began Obernewtyn, the first book in her much-loved Obernewtyn Chronicles, and has since written many works in this genre. Her novel The Gathering was joint winner of the 1993 Children's Literature Peace Prize and the 1994 CBCA Book of the Year Award, and Greylands was joint winner of the 1997 Aurealis Award for Excellence in Speculative Fiction (Young Adult category), and was named a White Raven at the 1998 Bologna Children's Book Fair. Isobelle's work for younger readers includes her two series, The Legend of Little Fur, and The Kingdom of the Lost, the first book of which, The Red Wind, won the CBCA Book of the Year Award for Younger Readers in 2011. She has also written several picture books as well as collections of short stories for children, young adults and adults. After living in Europe for more than a decade, these days Isobelle divides her time in Australia between her home on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, and Brisbane, where she is working on a PhD at the University of Queensland. She lives with her partner and daughter, and a shadow-black cat called Mitya.
In the tradition of Andre Norton and Marion Zimmer Bradley, Carmody embarks on a promising new series featuring telepathy, empathy and other psychic talents. On an Earth nearly wiped out by radiation and chemicals that have whitened the sky and poisoned the land, surviving humans have built a semi-agrarian culture. Though their own religious leaders, the Herders, have paranormal powers, they persecute the mutated Misfits, whose psychic abilities they view as a form of subversion. Thus, Elspeth Gordie, an orphan, conceals her exceptional abilities (prophetic visions, the ability to communicate with animals) from the other workers around her. Nonetheless, she is discovered and taken to the legendary Obernewtyn, an isolated town reputedly full of horrors. But instead of the tortures she expects, Elspeth finds friends and learns of the harmful experiments performed elsewhere upon talented Misfits and of the destructive powers that may have survived the Age of Chaos that ruined Earth. Though most of Carmody's characters are clearly bad or good, she avoids blatant stereotyping by imbuing many with conflicting interests. She also presents the Herders' primitive culture in considerable and vivid detail, from Elspeth's arduous ride through the Western Mountains to a farmer's daily life of toil and gossip. Despite their abilities, the Misfits are at the mercy of their superstitious culture and those who run ObernewtynÄa plight that generates convincing plot turns. This is the first novel by Carmody, an Australian children's writer, to appear in the States. Readers will look forward to more. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
In a post-holocaust world of enforced pastoralism and strict adherence to a religion that bans technology, a young woman labeled a misfit or mutant finds herself condemned to a prison farm known as Obernewtyn. There, she encounters others with psychic powers like her own and discovers a dark secret concerning the mysterious triumvirate who control the destinies of the young people assigned to their care. An award-winning author of children's books in Australia, Carmody crafts a thought-provoking tale of courage and sacrifice that should appeal to adult and YA readers alike Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.