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The Obernewtyn Chronicles

The Obernewtyn Chronicles is a series of science fiction and fantasy novels by Australian author Isobelle Carmody. The series has a post apocalyptic setting and depicts a world long after its destruction by a global nuclear holocaust.

The series’ protagonist, Elspeth Gordie, is a young girl with mental powers condemned by the series’ main antagonists, the governing body, known as the council, and the religious authority, the Herder Faction. The novels deal with themes of responsibility, duty, prejudice, discrimination, tolerance, and human and animal rights.

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The Obernewtyn Chronicles

Obernewtyn, in The Obernewtyn Chronicles

First published: 1987

Elspeth is one of a new breed born into a world struggling back from the brink of the Apocalypse. A world where the all-powerful Council rules with ruthless force, destroying those who stand in its way.

Drawn inexorably to the remote and sinister mountain keep of Obernewtyn, only Elspeth, with her mysterious powers, can stop the masters of Obernewtyn unleashing the evil forces of the past…

Awards for Obernewtyn
  • 1988: Shortlisted, Children's Book of the Year for Older Readers
Where to buy Obernewtyn
The Farseekers, in The Obernewtyn Chronicles
The Farseekers

First published: 1990

When the Great White scourges the earth, the surviving mutants develop extraordinary mind powers. Despised by the tyrannical ruling Council, the Misfits are persecuted and forced into hiding.

Now their refuge, Obernewtyn, is under threat. Only Elspeth and her allies have any hope of resisting the forces of evil but even with their mysterious powers can they survive the treacherous journey?

So much is at stake.
And time is running out…

Awards for The Farseekers
  • 1991: Honour book, Children's Book of the Year for Older Readers
Where to buy The Farseekers
Ashling, in The Obernewtyn Chronicles

First published: 1995

The powerful farseeker Elspeth is sent to Sutrium, seat of the totalitarian council that rules the Land, to seal an alliance between the secret Misfit community at Obernewtyn and rebel forces.

The journey takes her far beyond the borders of the Land, across the sea and into the heart of the mysterious desert region of Sador. Elspeth will need help to destroy the weaponmachines. But before her dark quest can begin, Elspeth must learn the truth of her dreams: she must understand why the Beforetimers destroyed their world..

Awards for Ashling
  • 1996: Shortlisted, Aurealis Award for Best Young-Adult Novel
Where to buy Ashling
The Keeping Place, in The Obernewtyn Chronicles
The Keeping Place

First published: 1999

After a kidnapping, Elspeth and the Misfits are forced to join the rebellion against the oppressive Council, using their extraordinary mind powers. But Elspeth must also seek out clues left by the long-dead seer, Kasanda, vital to her quest to destroy the Beforetime weaponmachines. One clue is lost in the past, forcing Elspeth to travel the Dreamtrails, stalked by a terrifying winged beast, with the cat, Maruman, as her guide and guardian. Only there can she learn more of the Beforetimer Misfits and their enemy, Govamen.

Gradually Elspeth realises that her quest is intimately linked to the Misfits’ refuge Obernewtyn – its past and its future…

Where to buy The Keeping Place
The Stone Key, in The Obernewtyn Chronicles
The Stone Key

First published: 2008

When Farseeker Guildmistress Elspeth Gordie sets out from Obernewtyn to travel to Sutrium at the end of Wintertime, she quickly learns that not everyone welcomes the changes brought about by the rebellion. Captured by an old and vicious enemy, she is drawn deep into the heart of the Herder Faction, where she learns of a terrible plot to destroy the west coast.

To stop it, Elspeth must risk everything, knowing that if she dies, she will never complete her quest to find the weaponmachines that destroyed the Beforetime.

But if she succeeds, her journey will lead her to the last of the signs left for her by the seer Kasanda…

Awards for The Stone Key
  • 2008: Shortlisted, Aurealis Award for Best Young-Adult Novel
Notes & Trivia for The Stone Key

Published as two books, Wavesong and The Stone Key in the USA, UK and Canada.

Where to buy The Stone Key
The Sending, in The Obernewtyn Chronicles
The Sending

First published: 2011

The time has come at last for Elspeth Gordie to leave the Land on her quest to find and stop the computermachine Sentinel from unleashing the deadly Balance of Terror arsenal. But before she can embark on her journey, she must find a lost key. And although she has long prepared for this day, nothing is as she anticipated.

Elspeth’s search will take her where she never thought to go, and bestow upon her stranger companions than any she ever imagined. It will lead her far from her destination to those she believed lost forever.

And it will test her, as she has never been tested before…

Where to buy The Sending
The Red Queen, in The Obernewtyn Chronicles
The Red Queen

First published: 2015

After years spent struggling to balance her desires with her responsibilities, Elspeth Gordie has fully embraced her role as the Seeker. Battle-scarred and lovelorn, haunted by memories of her beloved Rushton, Elspeth is not prepared for what she finds at the end of the black road she travels: the Compound, a lost community with a startling secret.

As Elspeth strives against her captors, she learns that Rushton and her friends have fallen into the hands of the deadly slavemasters that rule the Red Land. And worst of all, as Elspeth stumbles, the Destroyer creeps ever closer to his goal: awakening the cataclysmically destructive weaponmachines that Elspeth has been charged with stopping. Has all her sacrifice been in vain?

Where to buy The Red Queen
The Dark Road, in The Obernewtyn Chronicles
The Dark Road

First published: 2017

A one-eyed cat weaves its way through Hannah’s dreams, beckoning her up high mountains where she must walk the dark road. Her pilgrimage will take her through desert dunes, and deep into the strange recesses of long-hidden memories. Guided only by an old letter and her psychic intuition, Hannah’s journey will test her ageing limbs, as she carries the weight of her mother’s prophecy to her salvation, or peril…

Notes & Trivia for The Dark Road

Originally published in “Legends of Australian Fantasy”, ed. Jack Dann, Jonathan Strahan.

Where to buy The Dark Road
The Journey, in The Obernewtyn Chronicles
The Journey

First published: 2017

While the Obernewtyn Chronicles is over, there are many things we still don’t know about the world, particularly involving the Beforetime’s Cassy and Hannah; the two women who (as far as we’re aware) helped set up the keys and clues for Elspeth’s quest, and to fill in some of those gaps it’s been Isobelle’s intention to write several short stories (including the Matthew and Dragon story, which will also explore the Salamander/Ariel relationship).

While The Journey has existed for a few years now, it’s been available only in an anthology that many haven’t been able to locate or purchase easily, so the details of Hannah’s life have been as much a mystery as ever to the majority of fans.

Notes & Trivia for The Journey

Originally published in “Trust Me Too”, ed. Paul Collins.

Where to buy The Journey
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