The Severed Land by Maurice Gee
The Severed Land by Maurice Gee. Pub. Puffin, 2017.
Heck this is a good book. There I have said it early because like many I thought his last book for adults was his last, but good heavens if you can write like this why stop?
It’s about a land that has been severed by a wall built by the People to keep the families from the south out because of their destructive, brutal and enviromentally unfriendly ways.
The wall is now held up by The Old One who is the last of the people who created it, but he is ailing and will soon die. He casts his mind widely and contacts a blind, hunched back but beautiful girl with a magnificent singing voice. Her names is Lorna and she is being held prisoner by the powerful and cruel Morsisette family from the South.
Every day the Morisette’s fire a cannon at the wall to break it down but no chance it is firm.
Three years previously a black slave girl called Fliss escaped and was able to go through the wall to the sanctuary behind it. The Wall lets few people through except those who are good and wanted by the families of the South.
A boy named Kirt is taken by Fliss through the wall while escaping from the Morisettes and The Old One tells Fliss that she and Kirt must go into the South and rescue Lorna.
This is their story told in rollicking fashion by one of the best children’s writers New Zealand has ever had. I was riveted and you will be too.
It is a book about good versus evil and readers may see parallels in New Zealand and World situations but the message is “a wall cannot last for ever” but can it?
There does seem room for a sequel. You never know. For readers from Intermediate through to young adult. It is outstanding.