Cuckoo’s Flight (Minoan Wings 3)

Written by Wendy Orr
Review by India Edghill

Bronze Age Greece. Although Clio should be preparing to follow her mother’s trade of potter, Clio’s passion is horses. But a fall from her beloved mare, Gray Girl, has left her with an injured leg. Since she can no longer ride, her father invents a cart for her to ride in while driving Gray Girl. Driving the horse leads to a meeting with Mika, an outcast orphan who is also obsessed with horses, and the two girls become friends. While evading her job at the kiln to check on Gray Girl, Clio spots the black ship sailing up the coast: A ship that means raiders intent on claiming the riches of the town’s purple dyeworks and destroying Clio’s home. Clio hastens to warn her town, and the high priestess consults the Oracle, who reveals that a maiden sacrifice will be required. Clio is convinced that she will be the sacrifice, but the gods apparently have other plans for Clio and the townspeople. For to fight off the invaders, the villagers must learn to open their minds and hearts and welcome the slaves at the purple works as equals. Will that be enough to keep their land safe? Or will the invaders triumph?

Set in a convincingly rendered Bronze Age, a setting beautifully woven into the story (pointing out, for instance, that at that time, in that location, fifty people was a large number to be attacking your village!), this is a fine addition to any historical fiction fan’s bookshelf. A story of family, faith, and friendship told in elegant, jewel-bright prose with neither a wasted word nor yet too few, Cuckoo’s Flight is excellent. It led me to the author’s other novels, which are also a delight to read. (Written for 10-14-year-olds, but not limited to that age group.)