Winner of the CBCA of the Year: Older Readers
When Nathanial and his mother move to the quiet, safe streets of Cheshunt, he immediately senses something wrong. Violent gangs patrol the streets, feral dogs roam at night, and the oppressive stench from the abattoir lingers over the school.
Soon Nathanial learns that his presence is no accident. As he uncovers the dark secrets of Cheshunt's past, and event spiral desperately out of control, he and his new friends must confront phantoms from their past in the battle to stop the Gathering and its terrifying creator.
'A great page-turner that is probably best read in daylight and in good company.' The Age
Carmody, an Australian author previously unpublished here, is certain to ensnare readers with this superbly crafted novel. Her plot has all the ingredients of a supernatural horror tale: a new kid arrives in a strange, Stepford-like village and joins up with a group of fellow students who undertake a cosmic battle against a mysterious evil force. But Carmody transcends the genre by relating the story through an unusually lifelike narrator, and she gives it urgency by suggesting that its supernatural elements can be interpreted as symbols for the tensions and painful mysteries of ordinary life, the dark causalities between the sins of the past and present crises. The foreboding atmosphere achieves a nearly visceral intensity as Nathaniel, the narrator, describes ever more specific phenomena--a pervasive stench from the town slaughterhouse; the erratic behavior of his well-trained dog, who meets a grotesque fate; the uncanny similarities between the school principal and the charismatic dancing teacher of a previous generation. The suspense never slackens, and the resolutions of the many conflicts are powerfully wrought. Utterly riveting. Ages 12-up.