Tali stepped back from my embrace, her hands on my shoulders. ‘We can do it,’ she said. ‘Never doubt it, Neryn. Go on then, better be on your way.’ After a moment she added,’Sooner you than me.’
It is winter, and no time for travelling, but Neryn must visit, and learn from, the last two Guardians before midsummer. With the roads impassable, and the risk of being seen or captured unthinkable, she travels with Whisper, a bird-like creature who can transport her where she needs to go. First she must seek the White Lady, Guardian of Air, to learn the ancient wisdom of the air. Finding the Lady is only the start of the difficulties she must face. Alban is in turmoil, ruled by the tyrant King Keldec and his cruel wife. Only with a skilled caller to summon the help of the Good Folk can the rebels hope to overthrow him and restore natural order in the land. Once she has the skill, Neryn must keep them hidden until Midsummer.
The Caller is the thrilling third and final instalment in the Shadowfell trilogy. Neryn is a brave, though humble heroine, willing to fulfil her role, whatever the cost, but also deeply aware of her shortcomings. Her friends, both human and other, are varied, as are her opponents, many of whom Neryn sees good or redeeming qualities in, even while not always knowing how to harness these.
Readers are best advised to read the first two titles,Shadowfell and Raven Flight, for the most satisfying experience, though it would be possible to read this title on its own.
A satisfying conclusion to the series.
The Caller , by Juliet Marillier
Pan Macmillan, 2014
Available from good bookstores or online .