I’m a little confused with the time scale, is it a new day or have a couple of days passed? It isn’t really too clear, maybe time isn’t clear to Elspeth. But we are introduced to the character of Maruman, and he isn’t quite what you might think. First of all, he can hear Elspeth’s thoughts (yes you heard right). And most importantly, I like how casually this fact is put it, he is a cat. That is right, a cat heard Elspeth’s thoughts and is somewhat a ‘friend’ to her. But not just that, he can speak to Elspeth, but this isn’t made a big deal, though it is quite unusual for us to imagine.
Maruman calls men and women funaga, and he dislikes them and thinks that they are untrustworthy. He is a damaged cat, from some long ago injury and sometimes ‘trances out’ and acts confused and strange. He is cynical, haughty, conceited and full of opinions. Some of the things he has said have made Elspeth question the land, and the Herders. He is a free cat and wanders a lot. We are also told that there are people in this land, the gypsies that do not conform to Council rule, they are only tolerated and most certainly not liked. Again, quite offhandedly we learn that Elspeth is telepathic, now this might sound a little odd and ‘crackpot like’ but I assure you, the story is nothing of the sort and you should not give up on it (if you were thinking about it).
But it is because of Maruman and their first encounter that led to Elspeth finding out about her telepathy. How odd would it be, if one day you heard the thoughts of a cat in your head! That would be quite an experience. But quite humorously Maruman was just as surprised to hear her voice in his head. Overtime a sort of friendship formed. Maruman told her that all animals can think, some more strongly than others, and that all animals know of the Beforetime and The Great White. I quite like the addition of a Beforetime book which claimed that humans were evolved from hairy apes, which Elspeth thought a fairy tale, when of course this is evolution!
At the orphanage, lessons about The Great White are repeatedly taught to everyone by the Herders in a manner that is closer to intense preaching, and borderline brainwashing. Maruman did not think The Great White was caused by Lud but it was man-made, created by machines (which beasts called glarsha). Maruman claims to remember the Great White, but of course this is impossible, because it was MANY years ago. But the picture he paints is one from hell itself, I can see that this book is warning us of the dangers of nuclear warfare and humans themselves. It is a message that should be heeded because humans seem to be able to do an astonishing amount of damage to each other and the world.
But Maruman makes Elspeth now believe that the Council and Herders are feeding everyone lies, because it was not the righteous who were spared but the lucky, those who were far away from the source. And even Lud then must be created by man. I’m sure that this has ‘rocked her world’ and it’s a good thing that Elspeth had a predisposition to hating the Council otherwise she would have thought Maruman crazy (thought someone who loved the Council and Herders would not be talking to animals) and would reject and heresy. Maruman warns Elspeth that ‘She’ is coming, the darkOne. And that this woman is seeking her, but at present does not know who she is. It sounds quite ominous. In other news, Maruman hates the moon, for some reason. I don’t know why he would hate it, but I’m sure he has his reasons. Maruman doesn’t really make much sense at this point, but I don’t think he really every will and it is the sort of thing that is cryptic for a reason. But Elspeth is going to be take to the Mountains, and she only knows of one place in the mountains. Obernewtyn. And some ‘keeper’ would be coming and would find out the truth about her. Which is not a good thing!
It is only chapter three and things seem to be heating up, there are most definitely things and details that I did not remember and it is good! ONWARDS!