With the help of the desert’s Blue People, Elissa and Maya have escaped from the evil Khan’s Citadel and traveled to Alhamazar, city of traders where they will board a boat to take them to the capital. Finally surrounded by green plants and the Serena River, the young women recover from their long dry journey, as they prepare to travel on and reunite with Elissa’s father, Lord Falk, son of the king.
But Elissa’s short errand in the city on her 14th birthday turns into a long nap in a short alley after she drinks a silk dealer’s drugged tea, and she misses the boat which is carrying Maya and their faithful donkey, Gertrude, to the port of Gravesend. Fortunately, she is rescued from the alley before she can be robbed and becomes ship’s cook on the bits-and-pieces Swamp Maiden barge so she can follow Maya’s boat downriver. They find young Count Favian, left in the jungle to die so he wouldn’t inherit his father’s throne, as they travel through the Great Swamp.
Elissa’s knowledge of healing herbs and her Gift of speaking to animals and plants save them more than once during their wandering journey to the port, where evil men are waiting for their mysterious cargo. What are these iron sticks that shoot out smoke and metal? Book 2 of the Phoenix Rising Trilogy leaves readers wanting to know the rest of Elissa’s story – will she find her father? Can she control her Gifts? Will Favian return safely to Leonne? Why do the plants and animals whisper to her “The end of the world is near,” repeating Om Chai’s prophecy from the Citadel?
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA