Beast-Speaker – Book One

$19.95 inc. GST

The Flight
by: W.A. Noble

204 pages
129mm x 198mm
ISBN: 9780648164234
Publish date: 7.11.2017

SKU: 9780648164234 Category:

Description

Children are disappearing from the city of Seddon without a trace. The city gates are locked and guarded, but still the children disappear. One night, Seeger and his friend Boyd are taken and they at last understand the mystery. The abductors are using dragons!

Two days later they arrive at the city of Midrash, where everything serves the military machine – including children who are forced to become soldiers. In a world in which they are daily confronted with violence and the loss of innocence, Seeger and Boyd struggle to maintain their humanity and their friendship. Their only hope of escape lies with a unique gift Seeger has discovered – but one which he must keep secret from his captors. He can speak to dragons.

About the author

Wendy Noble has an Advanced Diploma of Education, a Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies and a Master of Arts in Creative Writing, but can’t remember her own phone number. She has been a primary school teacher, a librarian in a Theological College, has sold women’s fashion and has sung folk music in country pubs. Wendy and her husband live in Gawler, South Australia. You can visit Wendy on her Facebook page: @AuthorWendyNoble or on her blog: www.wendynoble.com

Reviews

  1. From the postscript on Child Soldiers by Rev Tim Costello, Chief Advocate, World Vision Australia

    We recognise the invaluable role that public campaigning – and books such as this – that bring  the reality of child recruitment to public attention – have in keeping this important issue in the international media and in influencing change.

  2. Lynn Stringer, author of The Verindon Trilogy

    Beast-Speaker is a fantasy adventure that, although confronting, also has hope, heroes and courage.

  3. Kayla Daking, aged 15

    Beast-Speaker is a compelling novel that I couldn’t put down after I started reading it. With a well-developed plot and characters you’ll come to love, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, if not the best.

  4. Rosanne Hawke, author of Wolfchild, Across the Creek and The Leopard Princess

    What an innovative way to give a voice to child soldiers! Yet there is a lightness here that pierces the dark.

  5. Valerie Volk – author of Passion Play – the Oberammergau Tales, Bystanders: echoes from stories past, In Due Season: Poems of Love and Loss, Even Grimmer Tales, A Promise Of Peaches & Of Llamas and Piranhas (verified owner)

    Beast-speaker’ is an engaging and ingenious tale that can be read on a number of levels. It’s an exciting fantasy/adventure story in which the dragons become as real and as diverse in personality as any of the human characters (for that matter, so do the camels!) and the plotline, of kidnapping and exploitation of children to become part of a war machine, is both fascinating and also challenging. The book also can be seen as allegorical, raising uncomfortable questions for today’s world, and for societies in which the rights of children have been deliberately ignored by brutal authorities who are blind to justice and compassion. Telling the story from two perspectives – by two of the kidnapped boys – gives it further interest, and the whole concept of ‘beast-speaking’ is a satisfying way of developing the action.Thoroughly enjoyable, and hard to put down. Bring on Book 2.

  6. Paula Vince – author of Best Forgotten, Imogen’s Chance, The Risky Way Home, A Design of Gold & the Quenarden Series (verified owner)

    Boys like Seeger and his best friend, Boyd, are happy in their homeland of Seddon, except for one thing. Young children are sometimes mysteriously kidnapped without a trace, never to be seen or heard from again. One night, although they are older than most victims, being in their early teens, it happens to them. Finding out what it’s all about opens up a world of horror they’d never imagined.

    Midrash is a foreign nation whose brutal militia steal the innocent children of foreigners to train as soldiers in their army. This way they are able to spare their own juveniles as well as weakening the morale of the nations whose children they have taken. The child-soldiers serve as a diversion to their enemies, giving the mature army a chance to move in. And perhaps the biggest benefit to Midrash is that some of the foreign children survive to be obedient and fierce fighters. Sacrificing some sensitive children as examples to the others is to their benefit.

    I was shocked and horrified several times. My youngest is ten and the thought of this happening to him is horrendous to contemplate. Usually I shy away from descriptions of atrocities happening to children, but I pressed through the emotions and found a celebration of the human spirit’s resilience in this book. Even when evil appears to triumph because it’s big, bad and ruthless, there’s something about love and its side-effects, such as loyalty and goodness, which can’t be snuffed.

    The story is all about Seeger making friends with the dragons, who are noble beasts with a similar history of exploitation by the Midrashi. Although he’d known his father was a ‘beast speaker’, one who can communicate telepathically with the animals, he didn’t realise he possessed the skill too until he needed it. There is an element of humour and mateship, despite the heinous conditions, and even a bit of romance.

    The narrative switches back and forth between Seeger and Boyd. We see Boyd consciously harden himself and quench his softer side, as becoming like his captors seems the only way to stay alive. Even so, he recognises the innate goodness in his friend, Seeger, remembers the pact they made to look out for one another, and can’t deny the hope he inspires.

    Perhaps my favourite line came from the camels, who were also friends with the dragons. ‘It doesn’t matter how, or where you die, it’s how you live that’s the important thing.’

  7. Lynne Stringer – author of Once Confronted, and the Verindon Series (verified owner)

    Beast-speaker (The Flight) is a fantastic fantasy adventure that can be quite confronting. Its author, WA Noble, certainly doesn’t pull any punches in telling the story. At times the horror of the situation, especially given that it happens to children, was almost too much, but there was hope in the story as well, although the story juxtaposes between two different boys who are both forced in opposite directions. The story resolved enough to be satisfying but left me wanting more, so I am looking forward to the next in the series. Highly recommended.

  8. Anne Hamilton – author of Daystar: The Days Are Numbered, The Listening Land, The Winging Word and Many-Coloured Realm (verified owner)

    The title reminded me of the favourite book of my childhood, Andre Norton’s The Beast Master. And there are many commonalities between the two: the rare ability of a boy to communicate with animals in a telepathic way, wanderings through strange lands, epic betrayal, a background of war and conflict.

    Yet this is a book entirely different for all that. Seeger and Boyd are two friends kidnapped by a dragon-rider and taken to another country. Along with many other children snatched from their own country, they are to be trained to fight for the Midrashi – so that the armies of Midrash are exposed to less risk and can send the children of their enemies into battle as a diversion ahead of the main force. (A concept so reminiscent of the janissary.)

    Seeger is rescued by a dragon from death – and the brutal training meted out to those expected to fight. Boyd is subjected to the harrowing regimen of the Midrashi warrior training.

    Seeger realises he can speak to the dragons, and an unlikely alliance begins.

    My favourite character, I have to say, was Bob the camel. What a fun flea-bag!

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