"Tiera clung to the tree-trunk for dear life. She’d been perched on this branch all night, for fear of the animals that might be prowling the forest floor below her and she was hungry and tired and cold. But now it was dawn, and she would have started to climb down except that she’d seen a crowd of people moving into the clearing and she was afraid of being seen. If anybody spotted her now they might take her home, and that would be worse than if she’d never run away. But now something was happening below her. A flute began to play a tune that made her shiver with delight and the people she had seen coming into the clearing started dancing. Tiera thought she had never seen anything so beautiful in all her life. Tiera leaned forward to get a better view. Then she was falling, falling..."

That's the beginning of the story, the first page of "Dawndancer".

Tiera is 12 and as you can see, she's run away from home.  Why?  You'll have to read the book to find out!  But hiding in the forest she comes across a rather unusual group of dancers who have a duty to protect the Sacred Forest, as well as performing special healing dances for anybody who is ill or injured.

Living with them at Dancers' Hall, Tiera gradually finds out that she has unusual powers and that she can use them to help outwit the evil Lady Khoda and her husband, Lord Yevon, who are damaging the forest, destroying natural habitats and engaged in dangerous mining which threatens to destroy a whole hillside. The final confrontation between good and evil, deep in the crystal mines is real nail-biting stuff!

All this is interwoven with the friendships and rivalries of boarding-school life, a kidnapping and rescue and encounters with the forest dwellers against a progression of ceremonies to mark the passage of the seasons.  At the end of the book, Tiera, who is 14 by now, sets out with some of her friends on a long journey to start a new life in a different place.

Tiera's story is set in the imaginary land of Kerran, and the time is similar to the fifteenth century in our world.  So there's no electricity, no computers, no mobile phones! If you want to go anywhere further than you can walk, you go by horse, or a carriage if you are lucky, and even then it's not at all comfortable on a long journey over bumpy roads. Admittedly the bathrooms at Dancers' Hall are modern, but it is a fantasy, not a historical novel!


Buy it from your local bookshop or order from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones.com and other online booksellers, price £7.99 / $12.99