This is a review of “Ashling”, the third book of The Obernewtyn Series by Isobelle Carmody. It follows on from “The Farseekers“.
After rescuing a brazen gypsy woman from being burnt alive at the stake, Elspeth is informed that the woman must be returned to her own people or Obernewtyn, and Elspeth herself, will suffer the consequences.
Elspeth makes another journey to the Lowlands disguised as a gypsy and is accompanied by fellow misfits Matthew and wild-child Dragon, and her beast companions: horse Gahltha and cat Maruman.
The city of Sutrium where the gypsy’s kinfolk are believed to reside, is a dank and awful place. Gypsies, as wanderers in a land frequented by outbreaks of the plague, are not treated kindly, and Elspeth’s disguise becomes a dangerous one. Once the gypsy woman is returned to her people, Elspeth learns more about the gypsy culture and their history, and finds them to be more intriguing than she ever could have imagined.
Elspeth and Brydda (her rebel friend) begin a foray into the terrible world of slavers in an effort to discover more about this dark trade that deals in human trafficking. They suffer heart-wrenching losses as they attempt to learn more about the man who calls himself ‘Salamander’- the imposing and highly mysterious head of this black operation.
Elspeth enters into negotiations with the various Rebel Leaders from across the land, attempting to cement a place for herself and the misfits from Obernewtyn in the rebel’s plans for a revolution against the dreaded Council and Herder priests. But not all of the rebels are as accepting as Brydda, and Elspeth and her friends must prove their worth. They journey to the newly discovered foreign land of Sador, where they engage in the formidable Battlegames to secure their place in the upcoming Rebellion.
It is here in the exotic land of Sador that Elspeth learns more about her mythical quest to destroy the weapons from the Beforetime that created the deadly and cataclysmic Holocaust.
This book reveals more about the extraordinary powers wielded by Elspeth and the misfits, the prophecy that surrounds her and her mythical connection to the beasts of her world. It is engaging, action packed and deep. With many more pages than the first two books, this novel is a treat for the eyes and the brain.
PS. Did I mention that I love Isobelle Carmody?