Beautifully constructed Cuckoo’s Flight from much loved children’s author Wendy Orr compliments her previous books Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. In Cuckoo’s Flight she enters the world of fantasy fiction once again through the life of Clio, a young girl who’s talented and much respected grandmother is a potter.
Clio is no ordinary girl as she is coming of age when the girls of the region are selected as a sacrifice to the Oracle to ensure a prosperous trading season, one also starting earlier than expected, by the dictate of The Lady. Her grandmother is none to keen on this happening to her beloved granddaughter as many years earlier he beautiful daughter had been sacrificed.
Her grandmother decides to craft a beautiful statue of the Goddess to be used as sacrifice rather than a young girl, possibly her granddaughter Clio. She makes several and then chooses the best, enhancing it with all the power she has to make it special, her last gift to Clio; her final gift to the girls of the future. Clio, it also appears seems to be incapable of following instructions left by her grandmother in regard to the kiln full of precious pottery.
Clio goes off to check on her beloved very pregnant mare Grey Girl and while she is away she notices a black raiding craft off the shore, apparently on a training run. The ship turns about and Clio realizes that it could be a raiding party arriving considerably earlier in the season.
Add another dimension and Clio and her father have an unusual love of horses which people find unusual, as horses are for manual work, nothing much else, but as her father is a chariot driver, he has begun to teach Clio the art, building her a special chariot to allow her to drive, even with her crippled leg.
As the days move on things do begin to become chillingly dangerous and it eventually comes down to Clio and her beloved horses to help the townsfolk fight off the marauding raiders, which will see her once again defying her father’s orders in order to not just save her friends’ life but that of the villagers.
In the introduction Wendy Orr explains where the inspiration came from to create the character of Clio, a little of whom is drawn from Wendy Orr’s life, she and her sisters love of horse and a wonderful clay figure of a Minoan woman riding a horse discovered in a tiny museum in Crete.
Clio is a very real girl based in a time of old, making way for new, somewhat like today’s world, and as she copes with the changes and the expectations of her family, many young readers will relate to her journey.
The Cuckoo’s Flight sees several storylines intersect which look at the many aspects of friendship, jealousy, acceptance and growing up, that make this a mature read for all young readers.
|Distributor||Allen & Unwin Children's|