Some prophecies thwart danger. Others create it. “Fans of contemplative, psychologically rich (but no less action-packed) fantasies à la Ursula Le Guin will welcome this warm, inventive debut” (BCCB, starred review).
High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future.
But it’s all fake.
At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated? But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic, and about himself will change when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned…are about him.
Laced with rich, imagined histories; miles of catacombs; and prophecies true and false, Witchlanders takes place in an evocative, tantalizingly vibrant world and raises equally evocative questions: Who gets to defines history? When does a legend become a crutch? And why does the enemy in war look a lot like the hero? Lena Coakley’s first novel is a lush, chilling story that is sure to send shivers through your finger bones.
Lena Coakley was born in Milford, Connecticut, and grew up on Long Island. In high school, creative writing was the only course she ever failed (nothing was ever good enough to hand in!), but, undeterred, she went on to study writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in Toronto, Canada.
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (August 30, 2011)