Review Blog

Jan 15 2020

Haunted Warriors by Lian Tanner

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The Rogues book 3. Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760293543. 315pp.
(Age: 9-13) Highly recommended. Six warriors - Duckling, Pummel, Otte, Sooli, an enchanted chook and a cat along with Alms - mistress Krieg and Grandpa (Lord Rump) travel by magic tarpaulin blown along by Grandfather Wind. Their dangerous mission is to go back to a massive castle known as the Strong-hold in the cursed city of Berren in the country of Neuhalt. Their quest is to get to the Strong-hold, find out who raised the evil Harshman from the grave and send him back to the grave. They aim to restore the rightful heir, Otte, to the Faithful Throne and remove the curse from the city.
This fantasy has all the medieval trappings - the castle, baileys, keeps, towers and chambers together with the people - the cooks, chambermaids, nobles, simpering courtiers and soldiers. Other characters are from Tanner's imaginary fantasy world - the Margraves and Margravines, the Bayams, Harshman and the warriors themselves with their magic powers. The warriors are haunted - each in a different way and they are not without their own flaws and difficult pasts. The haunting is part of their special identity and gives individual (and complementary) magic powers which come in handy for their survival.
The strong-hold court rituals, the formal protocols of respect and address, the structure of life are reminiscent of military, royal, religious and other institutional organizations where an understanding of the way things work is vital. There is a real sense of power and manipulation. Our heroes have to work smart using their wits and special skills to win back control from their foes.
Haunted Warriors is a classic tale of the fight between good and evil in the fantasy genre. Sacrifice, togetherness, protectiveness, courage and most of all the power of the bonds of love overwhelm evil in the end. The reader is exposed to the concepts of " . . . love and friendship and comfort-in-times-of-trouble . . . " versus ". . .graves and rotten fruit, and murder and loss and dispossession . . . " and are granted a window into what the misuse of power can look like.
Action-packed and magical, this book (and the highly acclaimed series) is highly recommended for 9-13 year olds.
Wendy Jeffery

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