‘The day was so clear that she could see for miles. There was pack ice everywhere, huge flat slabs of it that the Oyster swept aside with ease. An albatross hung on the air, its wingspan twice as wide as Petrel’s height, and the wind fiddles sang in time with its swooping and rising. In the distance a cloud of seabirds was gathering. The beauty of it all snatched at Petrel’s heart and made her more determined than ever that neither she nor Fin would die today.’ (p. 199, Ice Breaker)
Lian Tanner’s new work, The Hidden Series, was initiated recently with the launch of the first in the series, Ice Breaker. Anyone who had attended the launches of the books in her previous series for young readers, The Keepers, would have been expecting an entertaining hour or so of theatre – and we weren’t disappointed!
|The stage is set|
The venue this time was the Art Space in Salamanca, and Lian’s imaginative decoration of the space, in my opinion, outdid her earlier work in preparing for an event that would fire the imaginations of her young audience. Many of these youngsters were dressed to fit the theme, and the décor echoed this.
|MC and Reviewers discuss their responses|
Lian works very closely with groups of children in producing her material; this year it was Mt Nelson Primary School students who provided reviews of the book to be launched. This close contact of author and audience is not only beneficial to Lian and her writing; it must be valuable indeed to the staff and students of the schools with which she works, and I congratulate her on her ability to form these links with local schools.
|Petrel and Bratlings|
Members of a local group provided a short but lively dramatization of an early scene in the novel, where the Bratlings pursue and terrorise Petrel, the Nothing Girl. Anyone who had not yet read the book was itching to get started, by this time!
All of us, on entry, were provided with a numbered ticket – mine indicated that I was an Officer and therefore belonged to Braid territory. I might have been a Cook or an Engineer, of course, if I’d had a different ticket. But my ticket, I was very happy to find, provided me with the second luck prize! But my pleasure soon faded when I found that the first prize winner and I were to be tied to the mast by an intimidating Engineer – “I’m too old for this!” I thought. ( I’m certainly pleased that no photos of my comeuppance have surfaced as yet!)
The setting of the novel is grim, with two children who have grown up with hardly any experience of loving and supportive human interaction struggling to form an attachment and find a future for each other and their environment. But the end is more optimistic, though the sequels no doubt will provide difficulties to be overcome.