The Sister of the South, by Emily Rodda

Lief hit powdery earth, and rolled. The song of the Sister was like a knife cutting into his brain. He groaned in agony and curled himself into a ball, his eyes screwed shut. But still he gripped the Belt of Deltora, gripped it so tightly that his hands ached and slowly, slowly the soothing power of the amethyst, the strength of the diamond, gave him the will to open his eyes.

Since 1997 kids from all over the world have been following the adventures of Lief and his friends Barda and Jasmine as they have sought to restore Deltora to its former glory. At every step they have had to triumph over evil. Now, in the final instalment of the third series, the friends’ quest reaches its terrifying end.

In Sister of the South the companions return to their home, the city of Del, where they believe the last of the Shadow Lord’s evil creations – the Sister of the South – lies hidden in the heart of the city. From the moment he reenters Del, Lief feels a terrible sense of foreboding, but he knows he must go on. Surely destroying the Sister of the South will mean an end to the evil influence of the Shadow Lord. But there is something else troubling him. What was Josef, the palace librarian, trying to tell him before he died? Could Rowan be about to make the biggest mistake of all?

Whilst young fans will be saddened by the ending of such a succesful series, they will not be disappointed by this final installment. The book has twists and turns to keep the reader guessing and a satisfactory ending, which is less predictable than expected.

Thrilling reading.

Sister of the South: Deltora Quest 3 #4, by Emily Rodda
Scholastic Press, 2004