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November 2013 Mega Book of the Month Suffused with all that is best in story-telling traditions, this poignant story with a pleasing twist in its telling is perfectly and briefly told by the late, award-winning Siobhan Dowd and perfectly complemented with illustrations by Pam Smy. To bring good luck and prosperity to the community, the thirteenth child born to any woman will be sacrificed to the Dond at the age of thirteen. As the younger of a pair of twins Darra has always known her fate. But as the day draws closer Darra uncovers a truth that will change her destiny forever. ~ Julia Eccleshare
A Piece of Passion from Pam Smy, Illustrator of the Ransom of Dond When I left the offices of David Fickling Books in April of 2011 clutching the typescript of The Ransom of Dond I had no idea of the delight the tale was going to give me. I had read and loved Siobhan Dowd's previous, powerful novels, but still I hadn't quite expected the sensation I would have on first reading it of being swept into a new landscape and straight into the heart of Darra, the main character. On those pages was a story that combined fear, hope, love and loss with the timeless magic of folktales. It was a story unlike any other I had read and I knew I had been given a very special text indeed. This feeling of excitement stayed with me as I worked on the illustrations for the book. I have tried to recreate in the illustrations that initial feeling of being carried along into another land and another time, and I hope that new readers of The Ransom of Dond feel this too.
A Piece of Passion from David Fickling, Publisher, David Fickling Books I asked the literary editor of a national newspaper a while back whether long or short books were more likely to get a review. He said, to my evident surprise, that, other things being equal, a short book would get the nod. I had thought he’d say it was nothing to do with the length, it was the content that counted. Instead here he was coming back with ‘Never mind the quality feel the width!’ And he continued with a slam for a winner, ‘nobody has any time nowadays.’ It will take you but a blissful half an hour to read through The Ransom of Dond, but then something miraculous will happen. You will be given a gift. You will want this old seeming story to be longer. The words of Siobhan Dowd will dazzle like clear water in sunlight. You will linger and stop dead, gazing at the astonishing illustrations of Pam Smy. See how Pam effortlessly establishes herself as one of the leading illustrators of the UK , of the world. That moment of recognition is happening now, here, before your very eyes.
But her pictures and Siobhan’s words are of then, in a place beyond. You will be transported. Back across the centuries. To a thirteen year old girl, a curse, and a dark god. And your gift? Time.
Siobhan Dowd gave us four extraordinary novels before she died in 2007. This is her last story, a final gift to those who know and love her work, and a glittering invitation to those who have yet to discover it. Siobhan draws us irresistibly into Darra's tiny emerald island world, lashed by white-tipped waves, at the mercy of the dark god, Dond. Only the truth and a mother's kiss can set them free.
This is a tale to be treasured, a haunting tale of love and fate and truth. Pam Smy's beautiful two-colour drawings announce her as a leading children's illustrator and the astonishing blend of words and pictures takes us all into that timeless world of story. The Ransom of Dond comes to us like a gift from the past.
Praise for Siobhan Dowd....
A Swift Pure Cry
‘A beautifully written, lyrical story’ - Tony Bradman, PEN
‘Heaves with memories of another lifetime, like a family album’ - Irish Independent
‘A fine and memorable achievement’ - Independent
The London Eye Mystery
‘Compulsive reading’ - Independent
‘A novel that works on every level, not least as a thoroughly gripping detective story’ - Sunday Telegraph
‘Packed with humour, insight and suspense . . . a first-rate read’ - Young Post
‘The work of an outstanding writer’ - The Sunday Times
‘Dowd’s lightness of touch allows humour and poignancy to shine through’ - Daily Telegraph
‘Her sentences sing, each note resonates with an urgent humanity’ - Meg Rosoff, Guardian
Solace of the Road
‘Unexpectedly life affirming, wise and mature’ - The Times
‘A finely constructed novel, beautifully written by a master storyteller’ - Inis
‘A born writer’ - Independent
|Publication date:||7th November 2013|
|Publisher:||David Fickling Books an imprint of Random House Children's Publishers UK|
|Suitable for:||11+ readers, 9+ readers|
|Genres:||Fantasy / Magical|
|Recommendations:||Books of the Month, eBooks|
'The protagonists in my stories aren’t human rights heroes in the conventional sense. They are ordinary people living in England and Ireland who find extraordinary ways to overcome the difficulties in their lives and for me that’s the essence of any good story: it’s where the ordinary meets the extraordinary.' – Siobhan Dowd 'In 2007 Siobhan Dowd was voted one of the twenty-five British writers for the future (only three were children’s writers). Everybody should read her.' –David Fickling, the author's publisher Siobhan Dowd was born in London to Irish ...More About Siobhan Dowd