by Geoff Rodkey
Recommended Ages: 12+
It's a tale of youthful romance, survival on a strange continent, reuniting with old friends and enemies, and meeting new ones. Egg, Guts, Millicent and an Okalu girl named Kira seek out a treasure that could (if the legends are true) give the possessor invincible power, not to mention enough money to buy back the plantation that Egg bartered away for his workers' support. In the seeking, they find an ordeal of agonizing illness, an at least temporary return of some lost loved ones from the dead, and a religious ritual whose deadliness Egg only gradually comes to understand, due to a language barrier with the vile Moku tribespeople. Egg himself faces a supreme test and doesn't like how he scores on it. His path to riches doesn't run in a straight line and, indeed, doesn't come to its destination (at least, not in this book). But he also gains valuable knowledge, learns to stand up to someone who has terrorized him all his life, and says a couple of things to a couple of people that he really needed to say – such as "I love you," for one example.
For a middle book of a trilogy, New Lands makes a strong impression, full of surprising discoveries and growth for its characters. Their pain and joy are easy to share. Not to mention surprises, suspense, thrills, scenic and cultural wonders, and the promise of intrigues, battles and chases yet to come. This is Book 2 of the Chronicles of Egg, between Deadweather and Sunrise and Blue Sea Burning. Geoff Rodkey, whose personal website redirected to a pharmaceutical scam page three out of the four times I tried it just now, is also the author of four "Tapper Twins" books, a children's book titled Stuck in the Stone Age and a kids' novel We're Not from Here.