From the moment we open the book we are catapulted into dramatic action as Ayla and her friends, Finn, Benvy and Sean find themselves in the middle of a pitched battle against the Danann. They are in Ancient Ireland – but their own world is threatened; they need to get home. But what will they find?
This is the final part of Matt Griffin’s ‘Ayla’ Trilogy which began with A Cage of Roots. It will be welcomed by those who have been following Ayla’s adventures. For those arriving fresh it is not difficult to understand what is happening and brief explanations appear at appropriate moments. Fast paced, full of action, grounded in the myth and folklore of Ireland there are monsters, a fearsome horned king and The Dagda to face and outface. It is refreshing to find a writer who is prepared to look beyond the world of the classics or the Viking world, willing to celebrate the stories of his own country. The result is a fantasy that really does relate to its setting. The young protagonists are all different in character and have clearly developed over the course of the three books. Readers will welcome meeting them again – or happily make their acquaintance for the first time. There is trickery, jeopardy and the spiral path to tread. The conclusion is well worked, satisfying and credible. Adding to the atmosphere are Griffin’s illustrations – brooding, dramatic, arresting – enhancing the tension skilfully created by Griffin’s prose.
Here is a fantasy that ticks all the boxes and is ideal for young readers on a quest for excitement.