Lois Lowry, Author . Houghton/Lorraine $16 (169p) ISBN 978-0-618-40441-4

Lowry masterfully presents another thought-provoking, haunting tale in this third novel, a companion to The Giver and Gathering Blue . Matty, the scruffy thief from Gathering Blue , lives with the blind man called Seer and helps him around the house. Now an educated young adult, Matty delivers messages for Leader, the head of Village, traversing the sometimes inhospitable Forest. On one such mission, he discovers that he has the power to heal. Meanwhile, sinister attitudes begin to infiltrate his formerly tolerant Village—most notably in Mentor, the man who "tamed" Matty—and to threaten the principles on which it was founded. While Lowry intertwines compelling threads from past novels (readers discover what happened to Jonas, and that Kira also has a connection to Village), this story more than stands on its own. The author revisits some of the themes of her previous novels (the cost of striving for physical perfection; the benefits of inclusion), and takes them to another level. Because she continues to work in allegorical terms, her lessons about the effects of consumerism on society and the importance of knowing one's history never feel teacherly; instead, she allows readers to come to their own conclusions. And Matty himself, once a taker, in many ways brings the series full circle, becoming the Village citizen who offers the greatest gift. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/16/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Genre: Children's
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