Calwyn has come home to Antaris, but it’s no longer the beautiful city she’s always known—the plague has killed many of its chanters and stolen its warmth and happiness. Can the Tenth Power bring the walled city and its people back to life?
It is the middle of spring, but winter still reigns, the snow deep, the temperatures frigid and the ice on the river frozen solid. And for Mica, Trout, and Calwyn, skating down the river toward Antaris, the hard freeze is a good thing. Calwyn’s chanter powers are gone, and she can no longer sing to strengthen the ice beneath their feet. She lost her powers in the deserts of Merithures when she tried to heal the dry and troubled land. Now she is returning home to Antaris, home of the chanters. Even though she is no longer a chanter, she is sure of a warm welcome for her and her friends.
But there is no longer any singing in the walled city, nor any warmth or light or welcome. There is only darkness and sickness and fear. And Calwyn’s beloved Marna is High Priestess no longer. Tamen has taken her place. Tamen, whose hatred of Calwyn burns even more fiercely than before, because she blames Calwyn for the plague that has invaded Antaris. Calwyn brought Darrow the Outsider, and Darrow brought Samis the Sorcerer, and Samis first brought death and destruction, and now the plague. It infects chanters, only chanters. Their skin grows pale, they lose feeling in their arms and legs, their chantment fades away, and they die. There is no cure. Samis came to steal the singers’ chantments, but he also stole their health, their happiness, their community. Everything that made Antaris proud and happy and strong is gone. The walled city contains only pain, grief, darkness, and Tamen’s cold, bitter anger at the one who caused it all—Calwyn.
Calwyn is horrified by the changes in her home—but what can she do? She has no powers now. She is no longer a chanter. But do all powers come from chanting? The Nine Powers do, but there are tales of another power, a Tenth Power, one that Calwyn might still be able to use, one that might help her bring her home back to life.
This booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart.