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Damini Purkayastha

By Lene Kaaberbol . Translated by the author, 2002, 2003, and 2005
Hodder Children's Books, Great Britain, 2005, price not stated.

VOLUME XXIX NUMBER 11 November 2005

Human beings live a myriad existence and often merely negotiating the mundane and everyday is a task worthy of praise. But somewhere between the ordinariness of life, hidden deep within every mind lives the imagination, the part of us that was secretly thrilled by the thought of the bogeyman lurking in the shadows of dusk. Lene Kaaberbol, the writer of the riveting Shamer’s Quartet, delights the mind with her fantastical tale narrated by the ten-year-old Dina Tonerre as she grows into a lovable heroine. The story unravels in the beautiful but scary world of Lene Kaaberbol’s imagination that begs obvious comparisons with Tolkien’s Middle earth. Yet, quartet holds its own in a canon headed by the likes of Rowling and Pullman. Where Rowling’s world sticks to the British landscape, Kaaberbol’s characters travel from the Highlands to Sagisloc—a dark and twisted version of ancient Rome where bonded labour is seen as charity and children are taken away from home to schools of thought control that teach subservience to the evil Prince Arthos. Holding her own in a universe headed by almost mythic heroes like Harry Potter and Frodo, Dina too undertakes countless adventures encountering not only Dragons but her own personal demons.   The series begins with The Shamer’s Daughter where readers along with Dina discover the powers of a Shamer that Dina inherits from her mother. A Shamer, as the name suggests, has the ability to look deep within another man’s soul and make him confront his own guilt and shame. In an attempt to rescue her mother Dina is unwittingly made a prisoner within the dun-geon like fortress of Dunark where Kaaberbol adds to the broil a murder scene straight out of a Greek tragedy. Caught between the evil lord Drakan, a man who lacks all consciousness of shame, and the young prince Nicodemus Ravens, a young noble accused of killing his entire family Dina must rely on her instincts and make the inevitable choice between good and evil. While fighting dragons and negotiating secret passages Dina and Nico bear witness to Drakan’s enforced law of the land that makes slaves out of citizens. Last minute rescues and underground resistance to the Dragon Lord mark the end of a truly enthralling narrative.   In The Shamer’s Signet the Tonerre family and Nico settle into the highlands under the protection of the ...

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