Friday, 19 August 2011

Book of the week: The Mountain Mouse by Linda Williams

The Mountain Mouse
 
‘There are problems in Daish Shaktay. The young man who should be king there is called Rajay Ghiry. He’s an awesome freedom fighter, and his enemies can’t catch him – so far. They call him the Mountain Mouse, because he hides in the forts in the mountains of his land when they come after him, and he has a way of appearing harmless and innocent.’

Asha, Lee and Ahren are now eighteen. They have spent two years in Sasrar learning how to awaken the inner Tree of Life, the source of the subtle power which will enable them to free their own country. The boys have also learnt how to fight, but first they must help the charismatic Rajay Ghiry, the Mountain Mouse, regain his kingdom of Daish Shaktay, as part of their training. However, nothing goes quite as planned, especially for the ever unpredictable, irrepressible Asha, now an attractive girl of eighteen.

Here they are leaving Sasrar:
 


With some difficulty and drama, they manage to locate the young prince and his friends. This is Asha’s first impression of him.
‘I heard voices and some young men came in. They were tough, unshaven and walked fearlessly. Not the sort you’d want to get on the wrong side of. They carried weapons, and their clothes, although worn and dirty, were of good quality. I was well hidden, but was initially scared.

Lee and Ahren woke up immediately, but like me kept dead still behind the marble latticework so as not to be seen. The moons’ light filtered through the doorway of the temple and we watched. The newcomers laid their weapons reverently at the feet of the statue of the goddess, and knelt in obeisance, then stood up and one, presumably their leader, turned to face them. He was medium to tall in height and his piercing eyes lit up his face when he smiled.

They took their weapons and left, apart from Rajay Ghiry. I knew from what he said to his friends it had to be him, and he sat down cross-legged in front of the statue. He had dark hair, a dignified, straight nose and a determined chin, at present covered with a ragged beard, and on his cheeks was thick stubble. I also noticed his hands, with their long, strong fingers resting palm upwards on his legs. With my heightened awareness I could feel that he radiated a feeling of absolute peace, joy and benevolence; his outer appearance was that of a hardened partisan and his inner self that of a saint.’

Here is Rajay Ghiry, along with Lee, Ahren and another partisan, plotting guerrilla operations.
 
And Asha’s contribution? The boys, now young men, despair of ever taming her, especially when she insists on using her magic key to help the freedom struggle:
 

 There’s a lot more, but you had better read it to find out. And at the end – who marries who?
 

What part do the Keys of Wisdom play in this book? How do the events in this book help the seven heroes towards achieving their ultimate aim of freeing their own country?

For answers to this last question, go to book 3, The Swarm of Bees

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