Bart and Danni are twins orphaned at birth. Like many other orphans raised in Tintarfell Castle, their life and freedom is forfeited to the king and queen; exchanged for servitude, miserly amounts of food, and a hard place to sleep.
On their half days off, they play behind the stables. Despite their dislike of him, they are pressured to befriend the lonely, over-indulged, motherless Prince Edward, heir to the throne.
To please the sick King, Bart is manipulated into riding Edward’s wild horse Midnight. Their lives change overnight when during the ride, Bart is kidnapped and held for ransom. Unknown to anyone, even Danni, Bart is able to communicate by thought with animals, a gift passed on through the male line. Could someone else know of Bart’s powers?
The twins become embroiled in the most dangerous yet empowering adventure of their lives. Strange revelations cause them to question and seek answers to the beliefs of a lifetime.
Danni’s faith and trust will be repeatedly tested and she will pay the highest price of personal sacrifice for the life of the person she loves most. This is the theme that carries the story – sacrifice of the highest order for those whom you love the most. This is braided into themes of finding and acknowledging your own strengths and weaknesses instead of living up to others’ expectations, and how eloquence is used to persuade and manipulate children. The last is a chilling one, but offers food for thought, reminding us that people aren’t always what they show themselves to be.
Settle down and prepare for a beginning-to-end read. Here is a riveting story with a complicated plot that continuously shifts direction, full of mystery, twists and turns. It has fluid prose, and wonderful animal characters whose roles add flavour and humour to this extraordinary fantasy adventure.
Title: The Twins of Tintarfell
Author: James O’Loghlin
Publisher: Macmillan, $16.99 RRP
Publication Date: 30 August 2016
For ages: 10+
Type: Middle Fiction