Lynn Romano is the head trainer at Hunter’s Chase, when a sudden earthquake spooks the most valuable horse at the stable, she decides to ride the horse back through Gordath Woods. She never arrives.
Teenager Kate Mossman hero worships Lynn and disapears the next day while looking for her. Joe, the stable handyman and Lynn’s boyfriend, was the last person to see them both, and is the police’s prime suspect.
It turns out that the odd rumours about Gordath Wood are true; Lynn and Kate have been transported to another world. Medieval in flavour, there is a war about about to start. Lynn is captured by the Lord of Red Gold Bridge, the fortress the soliders who take Kate are about to besiege.
Someone already knows about the portal in the wood, and is smuggling guns and other weapons through to Red God Bridge. The other side initially think Kate is a spy and interrogate her to find out what she knows about these weapons. It is fasinating to watch the army’s leaders understand and grasp the concept of guns and other technology, and rapidly come up with new ways of waging war.
Kate’s life in the camp was realistically drawn, and I really enjoyed watching her grow from a scared 21st century teenager to someone who has made a niche for herself in this new world.
Lynn was a more distant character for me, I couldn’t quite understand her behaviour at times. When she has just gone though the portal and then after she has been captured and is being taken to the tower in Red Gold Bridge, she keeps falling asleep. I thought maybe the travel through the portal makes you unusually tired but no-one else who travelled was affected in that way. I also didn’t see the emotional connections between Lynn and Joe, and Lynn and Crae; I understood that they were there, but I never really felt the connections for myself.
I loved General Marthen’s point of view, by the end of the novel I was still unable to decide if he was insane or just driven. Kate and Colar’s interactions were awkward and endearing, and Lord Terrick’s personal honour and love for his son made him my favorite non-point-of-view character.
60 pages from the end, I was wondering how (and even if) everything would get resolved, but there are no cliff hangers on the final page. What I did take away from the book is a sense that there will be repercussions, both large and small, from the contact between the worlds.
I am eagerly waiting for the sequel, Red Gold Bridge, to be released in June 2009.