a review by Rebecca Muir
The Nowhere Chronicles book 2
Traitor’s Gate focuses on Finmere Tingewick Smith was found as a baby on the steps of the Old Bailey. He has lived a strange life under the guardianship of Judge Harlequin Brown. At sixteen, he finally started to get some answers about who he was and why he had such a strange life, with two schools (alternating year by year between a posh private school and a local public school) and two corresponding best friends. The Judge and a group of old men, who have been a part of Fin’s life for as long as he can remember, introduce him to the Nowhere, a parallel world to ours (which is the Somewhere), and to the Order of the Knights of Nowhere. This is a group of men from the Somewhere who are charged with protecting the Nowhere from the events foretold in an ancient Prophesy. Fin and his friends Joe and Christopher have been drawn irrevocably into events which will affect both worlds.
In this book, the boys return to the Nowhere as the events of the Prophesy unfold. Who or what is attacking the citizens of the Nowhere, and can they help the knights stop the attacks before more people’s lives are destroyed? What is the meaning of the strange storms affecting both worlds? Can the Storyholder recover and be able to reclaim all of the Five Eternal Stories in time to save them, and what does she really know about Fin’s origins? In the midst of these troubles, the knights are oblivious to the presence of a malevolent man who knows more than he should about the Nowhere and is planning to exploit the situation for his own gain.
This book is an interesting read. It is aimed at teenagers but adults who like this genre will probably enjoy it too. The worlds Sarah Silverwood has created are quite rich. She has a tendency to refer to things as though the reader knows about them a while before they are revealed, which I found to be rather confusing and a bit frustrating, but otherwise I mostly enjoyed her writing style. The story blends adventure with an exploration of themes such as destiny, truth and human nature. There is a definite dash of darkness through the story. All of the characters have choices to make, and not all of them choose well.
Many of the characters are portrayed as mostly good, but still making wrong choices for a variety of reasons. There are also some moments of inspiringly good and self-sacrificing decisions. There is a bit of romance, of the teenage first kiss variety, thrown into the mix as well. The book does leave the reader hanging at the end – there is not much resolution of anything in Traitor’s Gate, apart from Fin getting some answers about where he has come from. We shall have to wait for the third book, due to be published in March 2012, to find out how the story unfolds.
Originally published in Dark Matter issue 5, September 2011. This post has been pre-dated to reflect the original publication date.