The Valley had always been a wonderful place to live, a peaceful place, but then the Empire came. Greedy tax collectors forced the farmers to pay back taxes for all the years that they didn't pay and the horse warriors on the plains raided, raped and murdered the people. Desperate, the Valley sent out a small group of people to seek aid from a powerful sorceress. Two of them found the sorceress, but she was dying and so sent them on to the great wizard Faheel. Faheel heard their plea and accepted the gift that they bore and set up protection for the people in the Valley.
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To the man, he gave a flask of crystal water and instructed him to empty it into the stream high in the mountains of the Valley and sing the song it told him. To the woman, he gave a loaf of barley and instructed her to plant a small field of barley every year and to feed the cedars in the forest of the Valley and sing the song that they told her. The man and the woman returned to the Valley and every generation there was an Ortahlson who sang to the stream and an Urlasdaughter who sang to the cedars. The Valley became impenetrable to the Empire's soldiers and tax collectors as there was a strange sickness in the forest that made men dizzy, ill, and knocked them out and then killed them. High in the mountains, there was a glacier that blocked the pass that the horse warriors used. As time passed, the people of the Valley told the story for entertainment for they knew it wasn't real, but the Ortahlsons and the Urlasdaughters kept singing...
Generation followed generation until twenty has passed since the original adventurers found the wizard Faheel. The unthinkable began to happen as the glacier started to melt and the trees stopped singing and producing their sickness. The people of the Valley knew it was only a matter of time until the Empire would come and enslave them again or they would be killed by the horse warriors. However, the people still refused to believe that the story was true, so it was up to the Ortahlsons and the Urlasdaughters to save their homes.
Tilja Urlasdaughter was still grieving over the loss of her beloved Woodbourne when she escorted her grandmother to the gathering. Tilja could not hear the song of the cedars, but her younger sister, Anja, could and so she would inherit the farm of the Urlasdaughters. Indeed, Tilja seemed to have no magic at all and so was stunned when the cedars told Anja that Tilja needed to go with her grandmother and two Ortahlsons to find the wizard Faheel and renew the spell on the Valley. Tilja didn't know what she could do to help, but she was determined to do her best to save her world. However, as the small party journeys slowly through the treacherous Empire, Tilja finds that she may be the only one was has the power to save the Valley simply because she doesn't have any magic...
The Ropemaker is an enchanting tale of a girl who is simply ordinary, but in an extraordinary way. Tilja was very likeable and I found myself identifying with her right away. The other characters are also fun to get to know, but Tilja is definitely the focus of the book. As far as the plot goes, this book is more a journey of self discovery than a story with a beginning and an end. If you enjoy journeys with exotic locales and interesting peoples then you will enjoy this tale. Not the most thrilling of books, but nonetheless entertaining and solidly written with little surprises around every corner. It is written simply enough for older children to enjoy, but there is enough detail and intrigue to entertain adults and older readers.
The review of this Book prepared by Debbie