The Wind Singer

The Wind Singer

The Wind Singer is the first instalment of William Nicholson’s Wind on Fire Trilogy. It was first published in 2000 and was followed by its two sequels Slaves to the Mastery (2001) and Firesong (2002). It was awarded both the 2000 Smarties Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award in the category of “The Book I Couldn’t Put Down”. Since publication, the novel has sold over 600,000 copies word wide and remains an incredibly popular young adult novel today.

The story largely centres on a dystopian city called Aramanth. This city is divided into colour-coded districts (from the grey outer ring where to poorest people reside to the elite white class that governs the city). The district that a family is assigned to determines their lot in life, governing every aspect from what colour clothing they are allowed to wear to what kind of jobs they are allowed to perform. In order to rise in rank, every citizen must succeed in regular written examinations. To fail in these brings shame on a person’s entire family and can result in being shunted to a lower station.

The Hath family – Hanno, Ira, Kestrel, Bowman and Pinpin – have gradually grown disillusioned with how their society is run. When she is angered by her teacher in class, Kestrel public declares her hatred of the city and in doing so brings shame to her entire family. Her frantic escape from the city guards brings her face to face with the Emperor of Aramanth who entrusts her with a quest. She must seek out an artefact that was stolen from the city many years before – one that will enable the wind singer (a mysterious pillar that stands at the centre of the city) to play its song of peace.

But the quest to restore the wind singer is not an easy one. The device was originally disabled to prevent an ancient evil (known only as the Morah) from destroying Aramanth and if this entity discovers their intention to restore the wind singer there will be nothing to stop it from unleashing its merciless army on the city…

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