Author: Maurice Gee
Publisher: Puffin Books, Penguin Group
Date Of Publication: 2007
‘Hari lives in Blood Burrow, deep in the ruined city of Belong, where he survives by courage and savagery’. ‘Pearl is from Company, the ruling families, which have conquered and enslaved Hari’s people’. Hari and his father Tarl, live in Blood Burrow, which is one of the 5 burrows that Company has enslaved. The other burrows are, Blood Burrow, Keg, Keetch, Basin and Bawdhouse. Hari’s people are being enslaved one at a time, and when his father is branded, he kills a whip (guard) and severely injured a clerk. It was then quickly decided that Hari’s father Tarl, would be greatly punished and sent to be a slave at deep salt. Deep Salt is a place where disobedient slaves from the burrows are sent to work themselves to death. There’s a catch though: once you enter deep salt, you never come out. No one has ever come out of the deep salt mine and no one has ever lived. So when Hari and Pearl discover the secret of deep salt they are surprised. It is nothing like the rumours of salt rats and tigers, or a monster sucking their souls into a cage to be locked forever. However, there is a great disease which slowly and painfully kills any creature which has been in deep salt for more than a few days. Green glowing salt crystals are the reason for the great disease as it turns their skin white and as thin as paper. Their blood will thin like water and eventually their bones will burst through their skin, causing a slow and painful death for its victims. Hari promised his father that he would save him from the undesirable death of deep salt and bring him back to his family and finally conquer Company.
I was attracted to this book because I thought that the blurb sounded interesting, as Hari could talk with animals and it sounded like a good action book. However, I was mistaken as I found this book to be very gruesome and it took a while to get into the main storyline, making it hard to want to continue reading. I found that this book did not give enough information about the characters, as by the end of the book I still did not know how old Hari or Pearl where. Even though I did not particularly enjoy this book, I found that both Hari and Pearl were good role models as they teach people to stand up for what they believe is right and to never give up. It also teaches to keep your promises no matter what may happen. I would advise this book to those with a strong stomach. Even though this book is fictitious, it could easily be very real as it reminds me in history of the atrocities that Adolf Hitler subjected the Jews to in World War 2. This is shown in chapter 1 when Tarl is sent off to work as a slave in deep salt. This is the first book of a trilogy, however I will not be reading the second book in this series.