Kate Constable, Author . Scholastic/Levine $16.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-439-55478-7

Constable's debut novel, the first of a planned trilogy, takes place in a world where the song of the human voice is the carrier of strong magic. In the secluded kingdom of Antaris, hidden from the rest of the world by an enormous ice Wall, 16-year-old Calwyn keeps bees and prepares to become a full priestess, learning the power of song-spell "chantments." She finds an injured Outlander inside the Wall, and although the women of Antaris are suspicious (could he be a sorcerer, chanting spells used by the desert-dwelling Merithurans? Or perhaps a worker of the winds from Firthana?), Calwyn befriends Darrow and learns that he is being pursued by the sorcerer Samis, who seeks to be emperor of all Tremaris and, indeed, to be the fabled Singer of all Songs, "as powerful as the gods themselves." Moving outside the Wall, the story turns to a fast-paced nautical adventure, leading up to an unexpectedly philosophical finale. Constable has imagined a rich, satisfying universe, but the sheer level of detail is overwhelming at first; readers might find themselves wishing for a map or glossary to sort out the magic systems, place names and social structures. Happily, those who press on will find their efforts rewarded. Ending with an intriguing set-up for the next installment, this book should generate interest in a promising newcomer to children's fantasy. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 03/01/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Paperback - 254 pages - 978-1-74114-532-8
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-31420-6
Prebound-Other - 297 pages - 978-0-606-33294-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 297 pages - 978-0-439-55479-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-70586-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4000-8515-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4000-8514-9
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