Review Blog

Jun 10 2010

The Limping Man by Maurice Gee

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(Age 13+) Recommended. Fantasy/Horror. In this stunning conclusion to the Salt trilogy, Hana watches in horror as her mother swallows deadly frogweed poison rather than be captured by the Limping Man. She tells Hana to run for her life, but Hana, gripped by a sick fear, watches as the women of the Burrows are burnt as witches and her mother's body is flung into the flames on the orders of the Limping Man. With the aid of Hawk, Hana goes on a dangerous journey away from the city and meets Ben, son of Lo. Together they travel back to the burrows intent on ridding their country of the evil Limping Man who has the power to take over people's minds.
Maurice Gee is an award winning New Zealand author who has come up with an original dystopian tale with a fabulous setting. I was on the edge of my seat as I followed Hana's dangerous trip away from the city and finished the story in a couple of sessions waiting to see what would happen. Would she and Ben be able to find the source of the Limping Man's hypnotic power? I was also fascinated with the relationship Hana had with Hawk, and Gee brought the world seen through the eyes of a bird alive for me.
Hana is a determined, courageous girl who uses her intellect to work out problems. She is loyal to Ben and Lo and will not desert them even though she is in desperate danger. The story of Lo, who limps like the Limping Man but doesn't 'want to be king and conquer worlds' (pg. 167), is also fleshed out in this book by Gee.
The series is brought to a satisfying conclusion with a small opening left for other books that could explain the forest people and their powers. Teaching resources are available.
Pat Pledger

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