Tuesday 3 August 2021

Cuckoo's Flight

Finished August 1
Cuckoo's Flight by Wendy Orr

This story follows on Swallow's Dance, picking up with the granddaughter of Leira from that story, Clio, who is now at a similar age that Leira was at in the earlier story. Set in the Bronze Age on the island of Crete, Clio's mother and grandmother are potter's. Their communities, and others on the island are threatened by raiders who come to kill and ransack. Clio's father Hector is a sailor and a horseman, and she has shared his love of horses. But recently she had a bad fall and now one of her legs is permanently injured and she can no longer ride her horse Gray Girl. Hector has thought about this and has been building a version of a chariot where Clio can sit and be pulled by her horse, nearly as good as riding her. 
With the threat of raiders more imminent, the decision has been made to send the ships out to trade at the very beginning of the trading season in the hope to gain better goods in return and be back earlier in case of an attack. Clio and Hector have depended on Petros, a goatherd and his family to help look after the horses, which are located near the town but outside its walls. 
Unbeknownst to them, Mika, a young girl from the fisher community has been watching them, aching to do what Clio can with the horses, while her brother Dymos harbours resentment at the townspeople who live better lives than he does. 
As we follow the plot through Dymos actions on his feelings, Mika making herself known to Clio, and the threats on the town, we see both girls grow into their strengths and make themselves vital to the defence of their community. 
There is much here on family and the community working together, whether building defences or fighting the raiders, and an outcome that will change many lives into the future. But the core story is one of the two girls are their passions and worries as they face their destiny. Clio must trust her instincts and do what she can do help her friends, old and new. Mika must dare to break away from her family to go where her heart and duty leads her.
I loved both girls as well as many of the other female characters here from Clio's mother Selena and grandmother Leira to the representative of the goddess, The Lady, and Clio's friend Delia. This book brings history alive and shows how the girl learn new skills and come to believe in their futures with more hope and self-determination.

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