BookBrowse Reviews Runemarks by Joanne Harris

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Runemarks

By Joanne Harris

Runemarks
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  • Hardcover: Jan 2008,
    544 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2009,
    544 pages.

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An epic of Norse mythology by the author of Chocolat for readers aged 12+

Joanne Harris has already proved her versatility with her books for adults such as Chocolat (1999), Five Quarters of the Orange (2001), Holy Fools (2004) and Gentlemen and Players (2006); now she breaks new territory with a novel for teens - and what a great read it is!

500 years after Ragnarok (the end of the world according to Norse mythology), Maddy Smith lives a quiet life in a sleepy village a long way from the center of power at World's End. So far away that even the Examiners of "The Order" rarely visit; so while the "ruinmark" on Maddy's hand and her inquisitive nature have caused her to be set apart from the others in the village, who believe imagination to be a sin, with some even mumbling "witch" behind her back, at least she has been saved from the Cleansing which would definitely have resulted if the Order were aware of her ...

The Story Behind The Book
Joanne Harris first full-length novel was a sprawling 1000- page monster called Witchlight, written when she was nineteen and rejected by every publisher; but before that Joanne doodled her way through school creating complicated comic-strips inspired by Astérix but starring the Norse Gods who she found "more attractive somehow, funnier and more human and hugely more dramatic" than the Greek and Roman gods. The only problem was that there weren't enough stories, so the young Joanne busied herself writing more, all set in a post-Ragnarok world in which the gods did not die as was prophesized, but instead survived with reduced powers.

A few years ago, she dragged the manuscript of Witchlight out of its drawer and read it aloud to her daughter, Anouchka, who loved it so much that Joanne started another story just for fun, and just ...

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