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James Russell & Dionne Christian review a selection of chapter books fit for presents.
THE SEVERED LAND
by Maurice Gee (Penguin Random House, $20)
At the ripe old age of 85, Maurice Gee has certainly earned his retirement. That's what we all thought he was doing when, suddenly this year, he came roaring back with this.. For reasons unknown to Gee, he was haunted by the image of a girl perched in a tree, watching the activities of the people below. She wouldn't let him be, so he wrote her into a book. Fliss is the plucky heroine who lives in the North with The People, a gentle, civilised race. They're separated from the savage and brutal colonisers of the South by a giant, transparent wall that is beginning to crumble. It falls to Fliss to save it by venturing into enemy territory to find The One. Dark, stark, vivid and breathtaking. Vintage Maurice Gee. They say he's gone back into retirement. JR