Sunday, June 12, 2011


Title: Thyla

Author: Kate Gordon

Publisher: Random House

RRP: $17.95

ISBN: 9781864718812

Release Date: April 2011


THYLA is a story of Tasmania: of darkness, of convicts, of devils and tigers, and of promises that stay true through the centuries. It is the story of what happened to Cat, and what Tessa really is.


My name is Tessa. I am strong. I am brave. I do not cry. These are the only things I know for certain.

I was found in the bush, ragged as a wild thing. I have no memory - not even of how I got the long, striping slashes across my back. They make me frightened of what I might remember.

The policewoman, Connolly, found me a place in a boarding school and told me about her daughter, Cat, who went missing in the bush.

I think there is a connection between Cat, me, and the strange things going on at this school. If I can learn Cat's story, I might discover my own - and stop it happening again.


Tessa is found collapsed and alone in Tasmanian bush land. She wakes in a hospital bed, with little to no memory other than her name and no idea how she got the scars across her back. She’s placed into Cascade Falls, a private all girls school at the behest of a mysterious benefactor. Her only friend is the policewoman Connolly, who has lost her own daughter only recently.

What a rattling good yarn this is - possessing all the potential of the iconic 'Tomorrow' series with the additional spiciness of a 'Being Human' or 'True Blood'. The protagonist, Tessa, combines endearing innocence with an edgy, primal intensity; her startling past - unveiled one layer at a time - is similarly mesmerising. Rather than keeping to the well-worn paths of vampire and angel mythology, Thyla brings something new to the genre: uniquely Australian shape shifters, complete with organic and refreshingly believable explanations of their origins, abilities and motivations.

Written in a very accessible language that its target audience will appreciate and latch on to, for this reader an added joy were the well-known settings in and around Hobart. The back-stories that set up the present day scenario are redolent of the island's savage and gothic history. Gordon has researched well - and will hopefully cause young minds to delve as well.

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