In a parched region the Yadu have conquered the desirable fertile land of their Xarappan neighbours. The impotent Xarappans are exiled and kept out by a sorcerer's fence. Their only weapons are primitive and useless. But they do have one crucial asset: jerboas, creatures who can read minds and who advise the Xarappans on what they should do. Novan is a Xarappan freedom-fighter, desperate to reclaim his people's land and also to be a hero. Given the opportunity to do so, he knows it will be at the expense of many lives. How much is his people's land worth? This compelling and well-paced story has powerful resonances with modern times as people under colossal pressure confront agonising decisions as a result of struggling to understand and do what is right.
Fay Sampson is a widely published author with a particular interest in fantasy and Celtic history. She has been shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize on three occasions and is a winner of the Barco de Vapor award.