Like Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, Sheila Rance excels in this first sweeping magical reality adventure inspired by the Bronze Age Far East, in which Maia undertakes a dangerous quest to find her place as a Sun Catcher and saviour of her people.
On her 13th birthday Maia, who has been brought up by Tareth, the weaver and warrior who she has always believed is her father, falls into an adventure that will take her on a perilous journey to a kingdom poisoned by bitterness and jealousies. A kingdom that she must save. Tareth is no ordinary weaver - the silk he weaves sings of destiny and danger, of Maia's future. Because she is no ordinary girl either. She has always been the flame-headed outsider among the Cliff Dwellers, but she doesn't want to listen to the song of the silk, or to the terrifying words of the village Watcher. Guarding her secret, denying her future, Maia steps into places she has never explored where she'll encounter mercenaries, spies, friends and enemies. And where she will face her destiny as a Sun Catcher.
Exotically located in the Far East in an age when trading and communities were gaining more exposure to a wider world than ever before, this debut novel is beautifully, richly written, thoroughly researched and a pleasure to read.
... it's hard not to be won over by the zest and originality of Sheila Rance's debut novel Sun Catcher, set in the Bronze Age Far East... Sun Catcher is a fine and unusual children's tale. - THE TELEGRAPH - Martin Chilton
And so the quest is set in this, although first part of a trilogy, completely self-contained story. Reading the book what came across was a love of nature what with the animals such as the leopard, eagle, lizard and moths that adorn the cover. Plus the animals have names, and the relationships with the humans are close, together with a touch of magic. - BOOKISH VARIETY - 11/02/13
Flame-haired Maia has known she was different from the Cave Dwellers since the day many years before when she and her father Tareth were washed up, half-drowned, on their beach. But now she is thirteen, and her destiny as the Sun Catcher who must save a distant land from failed harvests and starvation is slowly revealed to her. - THE BOOKBAG
Sheila grew up by the sea, which is probably why Maia's adventures in Sun Catcher start among cliff dwellers, wholive at the edge of the ocean. She started writing Sun Catcher when studying for an MA at Bath Spa University and won the United Agents' Prize for the most promising writer on the course in her final year.
When she's not thinking about Maia's adventures, she works with dyslexic pupils in a mainstream comprehensive.
She is currently writing the second book in the trilogy, Storm Chaser.
Visit her website at http://www.sheilarance.co.uk/ and follow her on Twitter @SARance_Author