Pan Macmillan (Sydney, NSW), May 2002
Paperback (384pp) $16.95
The Starthorn Tree is a classic high fantasy for children in the tradition of Philip Pullmans’ "His Dark Materials" series, Lloyd Alexander and Diana Wynne Jones. A quest story set in a richly-imagined world and a fast-moving, enthralling tale built on a firm foundation of myth and legend.
The kingdom of Estelliana is troubled. The young starkin count is trapped in a cursed sleep and it appears nothing the Lord Astronomer can do will wake him. Not even the light from the Astronomer’s Tower, built from precious glass by the bound hearthkin, can rouse Count Zygmont from his unnatural sleep. Then a prophecy turns the starkin against two hearthkin boys, Pedrin and Durrik, forcing them to run from the town and hide in the Perilous Forest. Here they meet up with another two runaways, the spoilt Lady Lisandre and her servant, Briony a young weaver with strange skills, seeking a cure for the count, Lady Lisandre’s brother.
With nothing but a prophecy to guide them, Pedrin, Durrik, Lisandre and Briony must outrun and outwit soldiers, giant spiders, bandits and the outcast wildkin that live in the forest. A miserable old man and a belligerent bandit girl join their journey to the Well of Fate to find the cure. Then they must race against time to find the cure that will awaken the sleeping count and hopefully bring a new era of peace to the divided kingdom of Estelliana.