Candlewick Press (MA), Hardcover, 9780763630157, 490pp.
Publication Date: August 8, 2006
Maerad is a girl with a tragic and bitter past, but her powers grow stronger by the day. Now she and her mentor, Cadvan, hunted by both the Light and the Dark, must unravel the Riddle of the Treesong before their fractured kingdom erupts in chaos. The quest leads Maerad over terrifying seas and vast stretches of glacial wilderness, ever closer to the seductive Winterking ally of her most powerful enemy, the Nameless One. Trapped in the Winterking's icy realm, Maerad must confront what she has suspected all along: that she is the greatest riddle of all. A sequel to THE NAMING, this second book in a captivating quartet about the ancient world of Edil-Amarandh is a sweeping epic readers won't soon forget.
"I live," said Arkan with a peculiar arrogance as they walked. "And I do not die. The wind lives, the snow lives, the ice lives, the mountains live. Rick and ice have their own voices, their own lives, their own breath, their own pulse. Do you deny them that?"
"No," said Maerad, unable to conceal the sadness in her voice. "But I like flowers."
"I will make you flowers if you desire them."
"They would be flowers of ice. Beautiful, but cold. It wouldn't be the same. But thank you."
They walked in silence for a time through the endless, beautiful corridors, and despite herself Maerad found she was admiring the beauties of Arkan-da with different eyes. The design of the pillars had changed subtly, she thought; she saw flowers within them, all with six petals, but infinitely various and intricate. She was always conscious of the man pacing beside her, although she did not look at him.
"Why do you wish to please me?" she asked, breaking the silence. "You could just as easily cast me into some dark dungeon. What difference would it make to you?"
"It is better if you do not hate or fear me," said Arkan. "Song cannot be made out of hatred and fear. That is what Sharma failed to understand."
"What is needed to make Song, then?"
Arkan turned and looked her full in the face, and Maerad's heart skipped a beat. "Do you not know?" he asked.
Maerad looked down at the floor and watched her feet. She did not want to answer.
THE RIDDLE by Alison Croggon. Copyright (c) 2006 by Alison Croggon. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.