Let’s try this again!
We started The Keeping Place with Rushton off with the rebels, who are trying to convince him to join the rebellion, even though Obernewtyn have rejected this course of action and have turned their attention to what they can do best, which isn’t fighting. Dameon is still in Sador, and we learn more about the Earthtemple and overguardian. Eventually we find out that women voluntarily go into a tainted pool of water after having their first baby, causing any second child they have to become defective, and end up working at the Earthtemple, and this is a practise that will continue until the Sadorians can heal the earth (cue Jak’s taint eating bugs). Dragon is still in her coma, and Matthew is still over the seas somewhere as a slave.
We quickly find out that Rushton has been kidnapped, and someone wants Obernewtyn to join the rebellion, the question is, who? The Herders appear to be the ones who kidnapped Rushton, but why would they want the rebellion to occur, something that hopefully we get more of an answer to later on. With Rushton away, Elspeth has to take on responsibility for Obernewtyn, and is forced into joining the rebellion.
At the same time, we experience our first moonfair, and hear an emotional tale of sleeping beauty from the magi. The magi, who are coercers who use their talents to create illusions for audiences (as well as plain old illusions), are subversively reforming the attitudes of the general public towards Misfits. They even get called up for a Councilman’s daughter’s wedding, which is a high honour for ‘gypsies’. The magi are Obernewtyn’s first line of attack, against prejudice, but there is another group who are trying to do the same thing. However, they (the Coercerknights) are lead by Miryum, who creates a set of moral guidelines which she calls chivalry (and yes she was inspired by the mythological knights). The group consists of people who weren’t too happy about the shift towards non-violence, and take an practical approach to improving treatment of Misfits. They think that if the Misfits are seen to do good, then people will come to accept and almost worship them. Eventually, the coercerknights split from the coercers, and come under the control of Elspeth. Now the interesting thing will be to see how Rushton reacts to them, and whether he is so accepting of their actions. Whether or not they become a permanent guild remains to be seen, especially since, guilds are based on talents not ideological beliefs. I think they will continue to be a pain in the arse for Roland, who hates them.
Dragon still in her coma, begins to influence the dreams of the inhabitants of Obernewtyn, with Elspeth being the worst affected. This leads to Elspeth having dreams about Cassy Duprey, who later turns out to be Kasanda, the seer from Sador. Not only that, but she has dreams about Ariel (who Elspeth is convinced is the Destroyer), her quest and Rushton, all of which have varying degrees of importance. The dreams about Cassy though, were very interesting, as it was the first time we got to see what the Beforetime looked like, and the politics of what was going on (with some help by the Tecknoguild and Dameon). Further to this the Tecknoguild have been hard at work and have found what appears to be Jacob Obernewtyn’s grave, though they have been banned from touching it, until an agreement can be made between all parties, since there is opposition to desecrating a grave, something that Rushton will be opposed to. Not only that, but they have started diving in the city under Tor, and that eventually leads to Elspeth also diving, and finding a glass statue of herself in the Reichler Clinic reception! Sadly, that is all destroyed now, and Elspeth was under the impression that that was a sign, but it appears that it wasn’t.
Back onto dreams, and Elspeth with the help of Maruman, ventured on the dreamtrails. Her first time, was so she could find the message Cassy/Kasanda left for her on the old doors of Obernewtyn, which were brought to Obernewtyn by Gypsies. She finds, with the help of Fian who translates the gadi to urolish, clues to lead her to the signs that Kasanda left for her so she can complete her quest. Also on dreams, Elspeth and others dream of Matthew, who is now in a place called the Red Queen’s Land. Unfortunately, he is a slave, and there is this weird, scary thing that lives under the ground.
Having agreed to the rebellion, Malik decides to use the Misfits in a ruse to make the soldierguards follow them before finding themselves in a trap. Sounded like a great plan, but if only they could have seen what Malik was really planning, but wearing a demonband (which prevents Misfits using their abilities, and was created by the Herders from tainted material) stopped them from being able to. In the end, the Misfits lost many human and beast lives, including Straaka (Miryum’s suitor, which caused her to go missing) and possibly Angina’s life as well (whose battle remains, as we don’t know whether he lives or dies). Only the ‘chance’ arrival of Swallow and some Gypsies, saved their lives. Malik’s betrayal will not go without justice. But the rest of the rebellion went off without a hitch, except of course that the west coast remains council territory, as more betrayal occurred, and there is a high chance that the Herders were involved.
In the Herder cloisters they found Rushton (Domick who disappeared at the same time, is still missing), but he was crazed after being heavily drugged. Elspeth was told to return to Obernewtyn by the Agyllians via Maruman because a sign was in danger of being lost. Eventually through the dreamtrails, enters Dragon’s mind to help her and Rushton, whose mind was absorbed by hers. Inside, a lot happens, and we learn that Dragon is the daughter of the Red Queen! Sadly the Red Queen is overthrown by a trusted advisor, and then sold off to traders. The Red Queen, who eventually dies, reveals to Dragon that she must remember where the first Red Queen’s brother died, because it is the location of a sign, one of those for Elspeth.
In the end, Elspeth saves Dragon and Rushton, who both recover. Dragon has no memory of her time at Obernewtyn, and so she has essentially returned as a ‘savage’, and Rushton is still recovering. Elspeth wasn’t helping things, but the two of them, seem to be heading in the right direction.
A lot has happened, and the pieces have started to come together, but there is still a long way to go. The west coast needs to be won, with Misfits still in danger. The Herders, they could easily be an issue. Dragon’s recovery, will she ever like Elspeth again? The Gypsies, and Elspeth involvement with the ancient promises. The signs, and Elspeth’s quest. MALIK! Making sure that the rebels maintain their hold on this side of the suggredoon is going to be a big issue. Bigger still is how the Misfits will be treated by the populace, and whether life will get easier for them. And what about Ariel, and Domick, and Matthew. What are they up to? We’ll have to find out.
I said I had ‘news’ about The Red Queen the forthcoming and final book in the Obernewtyn Chronicles. Well, thanks to twitter I was able to ask Isobelle Carmody when it might be released. And she very quickly replied that it will come out either late 2013 or early 2014. Now I’m not going to hold her to this, because things happen, and I know with Isobelle Carmody that she can change her mind (it has happened before,many times, and it is not a criticism) and work on other things (she has many ongoing projects, including a new website http://theslipstream.com.au/ ). We’ll see, but since there is no indication that we’ll be getting The Red Queen in time for me to read it immediately after The Sending (because The Stone Key could take up to 80 days, again with splitting of the chapters, but we’ll see about that, and then The Sending could take 60+ days again splitting the chapters). This could easily take us into the middle of next year (hopefully earlier). After that, I believe I have mentioned a desire to read ‘the classics’. I’ll reveal more about that when we actually get much closer to the date. Tomorrow we shall take a look at The Stone Key!