WINNER OF THE BRANFORD BOASE AWARD.
Imagine a song with the power to heal or kill. Imagine being taught to sing such songs... Enter the Echorium, where the forces of good and evil are held in harmony by blue-haired Singers whose voices are their only weapons.
On the Isle of Echoes, three young Singers are being taught to heal the sick and keep the peace in their world using five Songs of Power – Challa for healing, Kashe for laughter, Shi for pain, Aushan for punishment, and Yehn for death. When their lessons are interrupted by a Mainlander ship breaking up on the reef in an unnatural storm, talented novice Rialle, her best friend Frenn, and class rebel Kherron find themselves part of a dangerous quest to discover who is hunting the merlee half-creatures that protect the waters around the Isle.
Soon the Singer party is buried deep under the mountains of the Karch, and Rialle is imprisoned in a cage by the evil Khizpriest who plans to use her voice against the Echorium. In a land where swords are more powerful than songs, the novices will need more than their voices to survive.
"Fascinating and poetic." Joan Aiken
"Imagine mixing a little Tamora Pierce with Le Guin's 'A Wizard of Earthsea', add a dash of 'The Hobbit' and a pinch of 'Narnia'… and read on as a thumping good story unfolds." Tara Stephenson, Blackwell Children's Bookshop
SONG QUEST won the inaugural Branford Boase Award in the UK for best debut novel for young readers, and is followed by CRYSTAL MASK and DARK QUETZAL.
Katherine Roberts grew up in the southwest of England, where her first fantasy stories were told to her little brother at bedtime. She graduated in mathematics from the University of Bath, after which she worked for the General Electric Company, and later for an American company developing business models for petrol stations. When redundancy struck in 1989, she fulfilled her childhood dream of working with horses in a National Hunt racing yard, writing in her spare time.
After several years of writing short fantasy and horror stories for genre magazines, her first book Song Quest won the 2000 Branford Boase Award for best debut novel for young readers, kick-starting her career as an author. Her books have been published by HarperCollins, Chicken House and Scholastic US, and translated into 12 languages worldwide – one of them even hit the bestseller list in Taiwan. Her latest series for young readers, The Pendragon Legacy about King Arthur's daughter, is published in the UK by Templar Books.
Away from her computer, Katherine enjoys folk music, cycling, skiing, and horse riding holidays. She has flown a glider solo and scared herself silly doing aerobatics in a small plane. All of these experiences eventually find their way into her books – though sometimes the horse becomes a unicorn, and the plane becomes a dragon!