Rise and fall by Eliot Schrefer
Spirit animals. Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781743620038
(Age: 8-12) At book six this series is heading towards the final confrontation between our Greencloak heroes and the evil Devourer, leader of the Conquerors. Having suffered much, one wonders what could possibly happen next to the four youngsters before the series ends and how inventive the writers will be to keep them going until the final book.
With Meilin and Abeke captured and delivered to General Gar head of the Conquerors by Shane, Conor, Rollan and Tarik have arrived on Nilo in search for Cabaro the Lion in an attempt to rescue his talisman. The journey across Nilo which is mostly desert, is made more dangerous by the presence of the Conquerors who have already taken control of much of the island.
A local youngster Irtike whose spirit animal, a naked mole rat, gives her an ability to sense beneath the earth, joins their quest and guides them towards the oasis which is the kingdom Cabaro rules over, and where humans are definitely not welcomed. There are many dangers they need to overcome with Gerathon accompanying the Conquerors and an army of ostriches guarding the only entrance to the oasis only allowing animals entrance through the cliff pass.
Meanwhile Abeke and Meilin plot their escape made possible by a confrontation between Gar and Drina, Shane's sister. Abeke and Shane escape on his ship whilst Meilin, who is ashamed that it was through her that the Greencloaks had been betrayed, opts to remain hidden on the docks to maximise their chances of reaching the safety of Greenhaven.
The final confrontation to capture Calabro's talisman is as usual full of twists and turns, violence and unexpected solutions. This time unfortunately resulting in the death of Tarik the leader of the expedition, as well as the elimination of Gerathon and General Gar.
Tarik's memorial service at Greenhaven seems to be the end of the story but there is another twist, answering some questions, and leaving the reader ready for the next episode and hopefully the final chapter in the story.