This is a dystopia with a difference. Like many authors, Nicola Davies offers a warning of where our present might lead us in the future, but she also suggests a time that never was. Back then, even if we could not talk to the animals like Dr Dolittle, some of us could at least listen to them. By the time the story begins, however, that time is long past. The Automators are in power and, bent on the ruthless destruction and exploitation of natural resources, are hunting down the last vestige of the ‘listeners’ and erasing their powers. At just under 400 pages, this is a novel of epic proportions, and, if the topography and politics of its alternative world is sketched in, it is packed with incident and character, and driven along at roaring pace, fuelled by authorial rage at the way we have treated the natural world and a heartfelt longing for reunion. It begins with an assault on an isolated cottage defended by a mother and her three children: Ma, Harlon, Ash and Xeno. The children are separated as they flee, leaving Ma alone to fight off the attackers, and the length of the novel is explained and mitigated by the four narratives that subsequently unwind and interweave. These take us to remote locations to meet the resistance, and into the urban heart of the Automator empire. The resistance is made up of indigenous peoples and some of the animals themselves. For animals can not only talk to those humans who can listen but can crew the ships that fetch ice from the polar regions. There is, as you might expect, flight, capture, battle, loyalty and treachery, eloquence and cunning, hidden pasts, ancient grudges, sibling rivalry, an Armageddon weapon and even a version of a treasure map. And some poetry. And Jackie Morris illustrations. Altogether, a very heady mix.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2021-09-22 12:11:522021-09-22 12:11:53The Song that Sings Us
Illustrator: Jackie Morris