A fairy's life-changing encounter

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 August, 2009, 12:00am

R.J. Anderson
Published by Orchard Books
ISBN 978 1 40830 312 2

Deep inside a giant, ancient oak tree, a community of fairies is struggling to survive. The Queen has imposed a strict set of rules on her small band of subjects, one of which is never to leave the tree.

There is danger outside and one false move could destroy the whole community. The Gatherers can venture outside the oak under strict protection, and only the Queen's Hunter is allowed to fly into the outside world to hunt for the community's food.

R.J. Anderson's Knife is a fairy story with attitude, danger and edge. In this tale, happy endings are far from guaranteed.

Years ago, a mysterious disease destroyed the magic powers of the once-thriving fairy society of Oakenwyld.

Separated from the magic that once made them great, the fairies are at risk from birds, cats and humans, and their future looks bleak.

Trained by the Queen to be the Hunter, Knife is one of the few fairies allowed to leave the darkness of the oak. She kills squirrels and mice to provide her fellow fairies with meat.

Her chief enemy is a predatory crow that is determined to one day kill Knife.

Knife is inquisitive and one day she ventures into the house where humans live. She begins to spy on the humans who live there and is slowly caught up in a family drama when the son of the human family is injured in a car accident and paralysed from the waist down.

One day, the fairy inevitably comes face to face with the crippled young man, and this encounter changes both their lives.

Anderson has an unusual take on the story.