was five when I first saw the future.
Now I am seventeen."
It is 1915. War is raging
on the the Continent. It is eating up families,
swallowing young lives. In
Brighton, Sasha Fox is fighting her own battle.
Like the prophetess Cassandra,
the girl is plagued by visions of the
future. In her mind's eye,
the mud and thunder of the battlefields is
all too real. She can see the writhing
corpses of the soldiers,
the twisted remains of humanity
laid to waste, as the ravens pick
over the detritus. But worst
of all, she can see her own brothers in
midst of the carnage. Edgar and
Tom have been caught up in the
rush to war, and now Sasha must
race to bring them home before
her foreshadowing becomes
Foreshadowing" won the North East Teenage Book Award
2005. It was also shortlisted for several other regional awards,
the American Library Association included it in their list of
Books for Young Adults 2007...
Now here's a book that almost foreshadows
itself. The UK hardback
edition sports a fantastic, portentous
dustjacket. It's a close up of a
raven's wing, overlaid by a tangle
of silver barb wire, and it's sets the
mood, right there, before you've
even turned to the first page. This is
going to be dark...
Then, of course, there's the author's
familiar signature above the title.
The publishers - Orion - have
branded all of Marcus Sedgwick's books
with his distinctly stylized moniker.
And if you're familiar with his work
you know immediately what you can expect
to find inside. Yes, this is
going to be special...
All this expectation, and you haven't
even started reading!
But the author doesn't disappoint. The
short, tight chapters draw you in
to a mesmerizing story. You're led
back in time to the era of the Great War,
and in to the home of a divided family.
Onwards we're pulled, through
Sasha's waking nightmares as a field
nurse, and into the blasted
trenches of the Somme. Sasha is
a girl obsessed, fighting to get to
her brothers midst a sea of men
and boys and mud and despair.
There's such a cloying claustrophobic
atmosphere here; great bloody
clods of it. It blocks your nose
and chokes your throat. By the time we
get to the climax at High Wood,
we're left grasping at empty pages
- literally - there are chapter
headings bereft of any text. All Sasha's
words have been sapped from the page
by the exertions of the story.
Aiding the feel of the piece, we
have the author's own brooding illustrations
at the start of the story's two
distinct parts, and a raven's feather beneath
the numbered chapters - counting down
as we go. So we turn the
page - just have to keep turning - to
find out what happens.
Can Sasha prevent the foreshadowing?
Oh no, no, no. You thought the Gnome
was going to tell you
how it all ends, didn't you? - Well,
you won't find any such spoilers
here. Suffice it to say, Sedgwick
fans will lap it up, and newcomers
will be hooked. You know, the author's
whole body of work continues
to impress. "Floodland",
"Witch Hill", "The Book of Dead Days"
and its sequel - they sit as one
fantastic collection of stories to rival
the likes of Alan Garner. Yes, we
can foresee a future in which these
are considered classic works of
Signed copies of the this hardback were
available at the time of
publication, and they make an already
special book even more
UK hardback edition... The
A micro-site for the book...
The author's home on the web...
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