01:46, Jun 07 2011


Mandy Hager

Random House, $19.99 On a Pacific atoll, Maryam has been raised to believe she was chosen to be a Blessed Sister, willingly serving the apostles and the Lord.

However, she begins to question the Apostles' authority and control. At puberty, the Sisters' blood is siphoned off to save the Apostles from the deadly plague, Te Matee Iai, and realising they are nothing more than expendable slaves, Marayam escapes with a group of friends, including the son of the Apostles' leader.

Eventually, they are picked up by a naval ship and held in a detention camp run by the Territorials, who seem to have a lot of technology and medicines unknown to the group. At the camp, Maryam discovers there is a natural remedy to the deadly Te Matee Iai. She risks death to travel home to share the cure, and stir the people to rebel against the Apostles' self-serving ways.

This is the third book in the Blood of the Lamb trilogy. Written for young adults, this series has it all – action, suspense, humour and imagination, set against a background that is familiar, but different.

Maryam's people have things in common with Maori, and the Territorials speak with Kiwi-Aussie expressions and accents, but the Apostles seem to come from an ancient realm. So while there are no dragons or sorcerers, there is an enticing scent of fantasy.

The teenage characters face danger, self-doubt and moral dilemma, but find the courage to do what is right. This is an inspiring final in this trilogy for teens.