by Jeanette Winterson
Allen and Unwin. Young Adult. Paperback rrp $16.99
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis
It is 1601 and on the day that Jack turns twelve, his whole world changes. He is kidnapped on his way home and taken from his mother to become the instrument of the Magus whose intention it is to use Jack as the sacrifice of ‘blood most dear’ to enable his magic and achieve the work of the mighty Opus by turning all of London into gold.
This novel picks up threads from Tanglewreck although it is not a sequel, and weaves a magical tale of power and love. Brilliant in its imagery and powerful in its intent, it creates spectacular worlds from the natural surroundings. Water has always been a favourite focus of Winterson in her novels, as have the elements and the solar system. She makes good use of all these symbols to reproduce the realities of life, mostly the human weaknesses, strengths and frailties contained in us all.
Battle of the Sun is used as a metaphor for the fight that must be waged internally by each person in the book. This battle will enable them to redeem their most outstanding potential from the threatening external forces which seek to destroy their beings. Truth and honour must battle power and evil for love to overcome all obstacles. The book is open-ended so we should expect a third book with these characters.