Wavesong (2008) is the fifth Fantasy novel in the Obernewtyn series, following The Keeping Place. Note: This is not The Stone Key, the original fifth volume in the Australian series (see earlier review). The American publication of this series split the fifth volume between this novel and The Stone Key.
In the previous volume, the Rebels took The Land from the Council and freed Rushton from his captivity. Yet they failed to take the West Coast. The banks of the Suggredoon are now guarded against invasion from both sides.
Elspeth dived into the waters under the Tor to see the inscriptions on a glass statue. Later she delved into the mind of the comatose Rushton and released both Rushton and Dragon from their comas. But Dragon now only remembers her feral existence in the ruins.
In this novel, Elspeth Gordie is a Misfit who leads the Farseeker Guild. She has many Talents and has been told that she is the Seeker who will find the weaponmachines of the Beforetimers.
Rushton Seraphim is the Master of Obernewtyn, leader of the Misfits. He has some latent Talent.
Maruman is a mutant cat. He has been with Elspeth for many years. He is getting old and lazy, but he is also her contact with the oldOnes, the Agyllian birds.
Dragon is a youngster who was found by Elspeth on the West Coast. Nothing was known about her, but Elspeth has dreamed that she is the daughter of the Red Queen.
Garth is the Teknoguildmaster. He supervises digs in the ruins of the Oldtimers. He passionately desires knowledge of the Beforetime.
Zarak is a Farseeker ward with beastspeaking Talent. He is the son of Khuria.
Dardelan is the Rebel Chieftain in Sutrium and acting High Chieftain of The Land. He is running in the elections for his current positions.
Brydda Llewellyn is a Rebel leader in Sutrium. He is also known as the Black Dog. He is the son of Grufyyd and Kathlyn.
Malik is a Rebel leader who betrayed the Misfits. He will be running against Dardelan for the position of High Chieftain, but has also been changed with the Misfit massacre.
Vos is the Rebel Chieftain in Saithwold. He is an ally of Malik.
In this story, Elspeth sets out from Obernewtyn with two wagons taking the gypsy healer Darius back to the Twentyfamilies. Two soldierguards are going along to Sutrium, where they will be testifying against Malik in his trial. The wagons are also taking Garth to the settlement near the city under the Tor.
Kella is also returning to Sutrium. Kathlyn is returning to her home near Rangorn and Zarak is visiting his father near Saithwold. Dragon is included on the journey at the insistence of Maryon, the Foreteller guildmistress.
They drop Garth off in the White Valley, camp there overnight, and return to the main road the next morning. When they reach a small hamlet along the road, Elspeth sends one wagon ahead and stops at the inn with Zarak. Elspeth had been there before disguised as a gypsy, but none should recognize her now.
Elspeth gets breakfast for herself and Zarak and talks to the woman tending the bar. She learns that the road to Saithwold is barricaded by order of Vos and none can enter or leave. Then Elspeth and Zarak depart to rejoin the other wagon.
When Kathlyn reaches her land, she is amazed to find her cottage is not burnt. Brydda has rebuilt the exterior exactly like the home he had known in the past. He is there to present his mother with the gift, although he still has some work to do on the interior.
Elspeth tells Brydda what she has learned about Vos and he accompanies them to the barricade. The other wagon turns and goes off toward Sutrium. Then Brydda gets Elspeth and Zarak past the barrier and they go on to visit Khuria.
This tale takes Elspeth into extreme danger. Vos interrogates her, but doesn't recognize her. He does know that she is a beastspeaker.
This story is almost science fiction. The powers mentioned in the story are used in The Beast Master and other SF novels and the rationale is quite convincing. But the widespread spread of animal language is too expansive in this novel.
Language appears among many animals today, but not to this degree (insofar as we can tell without beastspeakers). Even mutations from nuclear fallout and other radiation could only expand such capabilities among some animals, but surely not all. As with the Misfit Talents, some would be effected more than others and most mutations would be fatal.
When Malik enters the picture, Elspeth comes close to death. The next volume in this series is The Stone Key. Read and enjoy!
Highly recommended for Carmody fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of psionic powers, political intrigue, and courageous heroines. For anyone who not yet read this series, the initial volume is Obernewtyn.
-Arthur W. Jordin