Saturday 7 December 2013

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf (The Tribe: Book 1) by Ambelin Kwaymullina (Walker Books)
PB RRP $19.95
ISBN 9781921720086
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

This stunning novel is a pass-the-parcel package. Each chapter unwraps and exposes a surprise. This keeps the reader in a page-turning frenzy. Ambelin Kwaymullina’s first novel is one of great imagination and creativity. It is set in a new world, the old having been destroyed by cataclysmic floods. This alternate society is governed by leaders that enforce Accords to maintain a balance between people and nature.

Ashala Wolf is a Sleepwalker; the wolf her spirit guardian. She is the leader of the Tribe, a group of Illegals that live in the Firstwood. She is captured by the Chief Administrator, who with a forbidden machine is determined to steal her secrets and thus destroy the Tribe.

The story is a thriller and simultaneously a love story. Its themes of power and manipulation, sense of place, belonging and identity are entwined in an expansive storyline about freedom and its necessity. Ambelin has used myths from her rich cultural Aboriginal ancestry, and employed the natural world and the vibrant earth as threads to bind everything together. Her poetic use of language and emotive descriptions build extraordinary scenes that incorporate unique characters with spirit guardians, fantastic abilities, mystery and adventure.  

This is the first in a series of four books. Ambelin has also produced four impressive picture books and is currently touring.

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