The Returning

The Returning

3.3 3
by Christine Hinwood
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

An engrossing epic tale with a cast of characters that will hijack your heart.

Cam Attling, having lost an arm, is the only one from his town of Kayforl to return after twelve years of war. All his fellow soldiers were slain, and suspicion surrounds him. When his betrothal to Graceful Fenister is called off and his role in the community questioned, Cam leaves to

See more details below

Overview

An engrossing epic tale with a cast of characters that will hijack your heart.

Cam Attling, having lost an arm, is the only one from his town of Kayforl to return after twelve years of war. All his fellow soldiers were slain, and suspicion surrounds him. When his betrothal to Graceful Fenister is called off and his role in the community questioned, Cam leaves to find the lord who maimed him but spared his life, seeking answers and a new place in the world.

But this is not just Cam's story, it's about all those whose fates entwine with his. Set in a medieval world that is entirely the author's creation, this is an ingenious, exquisite story about what happens after the battle. When sisters, sons, friends, parents, and lovers are left to deal with the subtle aftermaths and unimagined repercussions of war.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the aftermath of war in a preindustrial world long divided between Uplanders and Downlanders, a fractured community recovers and a new country begins to find its identity. At the heart of this story, which moves among characters in almost vignette-like chapters, is Cam, a boy who went off to war (and loses an arm) but returns many years later, bewildered that his life—alone—was spared by the son of the lord who won the war. After falling out with his family, Cam seeks out the son, Lord Gyaar, to find answers. A boy who befriends and then falls in love with Cam brings a particularly heart-wrenching thread to the story, as does the character of Diido, a girl who loses everything in the war except the spirit that helps her find a new life. Themes of rebuilding and redemption are powerful, but it is in the small, acutely observed details of debut author Hinwood's world that her story truly shines. The book's slow pace may put off some readers, but those who stick with it will be well rewarded. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—During fictitious medieval times, Cam Attling leaves for war as a boy of 12, and, at the age of 18, he's the only soldier to return. Townspeople view him with suspicion, his betrothed's father breaks the engagement, and family members treat him differently because he lost a limb. Disillusioned, Cam leaves home a second time to find his way in service to the lord who maimed him in battle and then nursed him back to health. Hinwood weaves together an epic tale with engaging vignettes that eventually come full circle. Unfortunately, odd formatting tends to break the spell and create an uncomfortable read. Long chapters are divided into sections by an extra line space and a first sentence that begins with three or four words in capital letters: "CLOSE TO, THE keep wall was not pure and white and smooth." Capital letters demand attention, but these don't seem to serve a purpose. In addition, the characters' unusual vernacular may slow readers down. It takes time to become accustomed to dialect with double verbs, e. g., "He's bitter after his sons did die," combined with Yoda-like speech patterns, e. g., "Just there when the sword fell, were you." However, readers who invest the time will eventually be swept up in Cam's story and appreciate the manner in which various lives intertwine with his.—Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA
Kirkus Reviews
A riveting examination of war and its effects set in a nonmagical alternative past. The war is over, but beyond the battlefields its impact is just starting to be felt. Like a stone cast in a pond, a father tells his daughter, "it's thrown and done, but the ripples do take longer to spread and flatten. That's what this is, the ripples." Early chapters of this extraordinary debut (published in Australia as Bloodflower in 2009) are loosely connected vignettes focusing on the ripples farthest from the center: families on the losing side whose sons didn't return, the one son—Cam—who did, refugees who arrive and move in. Gradually, readers are drawn back to the center, to those who waged and won the war. At the center are Cam and Gyaar, the victor's son. The fateful choices of each drive the plot, but the details of how war changes everyone are what matters most. The losers' village and social order are disrupted, but for some, like battered wife Ellaner and misfit Ban, change is oxygen. For the victors, change is more comfortable but equally unforeseen and uncontainable. Grounding the story are the closely observed characters and their world—vivid, flawed and immensely appealing. Like Margo Lanagan, Hinwood doesn't trade in black-and-white moral absolutes but directs her attention, and ours, to the infinite shades of gray that lie between them. (Alternative historical fiction. 12 & up)
From the Publisher
"A beautiful examination of the complexities of love and loyalty in the aftermath of war." -Megan Whalen Turner, author of The Thief, Newbery Honor winner

"I loved this novel. I cried through the whole last chapter from the sheer beauty of these characters and their world." -Melina Marchetta, author of Jellicoe Road, Printz Medal winner

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803735286
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/14/2011
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile:
670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A beautiful examination of the complexities of love and loyalty in the aftermath of war." -Megan Whalen Turner, author of The Thief, Newbery Honor winner

"I loved this novel. I cried through the whole last chapter from the sheer beauty of these characters and their world." -Melina Marchetta, author of Jellicoe Road, Printz Medal winner

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >