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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
News & Updates for
The Obernewtyn Chronicles
Here are the transcripts of Isobelle Carmody’s readings from Convergence in June 2007. Watch all the recordings via this Playlist on Youtube. Reading 1 I thought of the premonition that had assailed me earlier. “I begin to fear we were too quick to let people know of our refuge. Suddenly everything seems less sure, than when the rebellion ended.” Brydda shook his head. “If you’d kept your refuge secret, it...
She recognized him from the holovids and nuscan bites as soon as she was ushered into his office. Tall and handsome, electric blue eyes, a great eccentric mane of white-blond hair and a smile that seemed just a little too bright and wide in real life. William Reichler was fleshier than in the vids, but the visual slimdown might not be vanity. Cam crews always shaved off podge claiming it...
At the far end of a narrow passage, a yellow light flashed a dull summons in the grainy dimness. The ground underfoot was broken and dangerously uneven, but a sense of urgency drove me on. ‘Stop!’ a woman’s voice commanded. The murk quivered and thinned and I saw Dragon ahead, sitting on a broken stone column and gazing into an ornamental pond surrounded by a terrace of cracked paving stones....