Gool by Maurice Gee

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Text Publishing, 2009. ISBN 9781921520129.
(Age 12+) Imagine a monster that can't really be seen, but which can latch onto you and suck your life away. In this sequel to Salt, this happens to Hari while he is out hunting with his children, Xantee and Lo, who have inherited their parents' ability to talk to each other in their minds and to control the actions of people and animals. Determined to save Hari, Xantee and Lo set off with Duro, to try and find the origin of the gool, which threatens the world.
This is a perilous mission, taking them through forests and mountains on their trip back to the city Beyond, where they believe they will find a book which tells how to rid the earth of the gool. On the way they meet up with Tarl the dog man who guides them to the city where the evil Clerk and Keech hold sway. There is enough adventure and action to keep the reader interested along the way.
I particularly liked the character of Xantee, a young girl who is a natural leader. She takes control of the quest and it is her ability and compassion that pushes the story along. Her talents as a mind reader make for an interesting twist to the plot. The other characters are equally well developed and it was interesting to see Hari's children and their companions grow.
At the conclusion of this book I was left pondering the effect that practising evil can have on a person's mind. The strong themes of good versus evil and non violent approaches to end conflict could make for some stimulating discussions.
Pat Pledger