Voices In The Dark by Catherine BannerVoices In The Dark by Catherine Banner

Voices In The Dark

byCatherine Banner

Paperback | September 28, 2010

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Sixteen-year-old Anselm Andros has several clearly defined roles in his family and they’re ones that he plays very well: he is confidante to his mother, Maria, who at age 15 gave birth to him and so grew up alongside him; he is the confessor to his stepfather Leo, a man haunted by the secrets of his past; and he is also the patient, caring brother to his precocious sister Jasmine.

When the political landscape of Malonia starts to shift, Anselm’s ordinary world begins to unravel — all because of the choices Leo and Maria made fifteen years earlier. The voices from the past still echo in the present and shape the lives of the family, especially for Anselm, who is desperate to uncover the secret surrounding his birth. With so much uncertainty at home and in his world, it is more important than ever for Anselm to piece together the past. He must listen to his own voice and acknowledge his fears and desires — whatever the cost.
Catherine Banner lives in Cambridge, England. Catherine began writing her first novel, The Eyes of a King, at the age of 14 — mainly after school and on summer vacations. Now a university student, she is completing the final book in this magical trilogy.
Title:Voices In The DarkFormat:PaperbackDimensions:480 pages, 8.2 × 5.5 × 1.03 inPublished:September 28, 2010Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385663072

ISBN - 13:9780385663076

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17


Read from the Book

NIGHTFALL, THE TWENTY-NINTH OF DECEMBERI want more than anything to tell you the truth about my life. I am a criminal, also a liar. But I swear this will be a true account.That was how I began as the coach drew away from the city, south and then west into the darkness of the moors. The woman opposite me was pretending to sleep, one arm around the shoulders of her little boy. The old man next to me kept sighing and shaking his head. He was saying the rosary; the quiet clicking of the beads was the only sound. We were all avoiding each other’s glances. The snow and fire behind us made wild patterns on the glass. Every few seconds, the old man glanced back and sighed again, as though he had left a good life behind him. Fires were blazing on the walls of the castle, throwing black smoke over the stars. I imagined that he had some ordered existence in the city, and this ritual was all that he could carry of it with him into the unknown.I owned nothing but the clothes I wore and the contents of the pockets. I kept checking them to see that everything was still there. I had given the driver fifty crowns and my christening bracelet as payment; by the time we set off, it was nearly midnight, and the queues at the harbor stretched a mile. But I still had a pencil and a stack of papers and a box of matches and a candle and the medallion Aldebaran had given me.We did not speak to each other. This would be a long journey, long and cold, but we were still strangers and had nothing to say. The old man beside me had his rosary beads, but ever since I was a young boy, I had put my faith in stories; they came more easily to me than prayers. When we set out on this journey, I had thought that perhaps I could write everything down and explain it. And yet the words did not come easily this time. It was nearly impossible to write with the lurching of the coach, and my heart was heavy. I put the paper back into my pocket and tried to sleep.“Get down from the coach!” someone shouted when we had traveled a few miles. It was only the driver, cursing at a broken wheel and glancing about him with his rifle raised. Ahead were the lights of a village. We would have to stop for the night here, the driver told us. If he fixed the wheel now, the horses would be too cold to continue, and besides, this road was dangerous. We would go on to the next inn and stop there. The woman made some protest about this. A cold wind was sweeping over the snow, driving it in gusts against the windows of the carriage. We stepped down, shivering. The little boy clung to his mother’s overcoat. I offered to take one of her cases, but she shook her head. The driver unhitched the horses and led them beside him, and we walked in silence toward the lights.None of us had money for a bed, so we all ended up in the front room of the inn. This was just a windswept village in the middle of nowhere. The little boy and his mother slept in a corner with their heads on the table. The old man got out his rosary again, then put it away and ordered a bottle of spirits and sat there drinking it and watching the snow fall. I listened to the wind growling and thought about what I would write. Then I got out the paper and pencil and began again. But it was no good. I sighed and crossed out the start of it.The inn sign creaked and rattled in the wind outside. I could not write; every time I tried, it was wrong. When this had gone on for some time, the old man got up and came toward my table, holding out the bottle of spirits. “Here,” he said. “Maybe it will cure your writer’s depression.”“It’s kind of you.”He poured me a glass, then waited to see if I would let him sit down at the table. I drew out a chair. He settled slowly, flexing each finger so that the joints cracked. I could tell from his face that he had once been handsome, and his eyes were quick and kind. I sipped the spirits and waited for him to say something else.“Where are you going?” he asked eventually.I shrugged. “I don’t really know.”“Neither do I. I am trying to find my family. Maybe they have gone to Holy Island; that’s what I am thinking. But there again, they could be somewhere else.”“I’m supposed to be going to Holy Island too,” I said. “But . . .”“But you don’t think you will,” he said. “Now that you have set out.”“How did you know?”“Ah,” he said. “A lifetime of studying human nature. Now, tell me what you are trying to write.”I thought about this for a long time. “A letter to my brother,” I said eventually. “I’ve done a very bad thing. I don’t know if he’ll forgive me, but I want to explain. And I want to tell him . . .” I hesitated.“Go on,” said the old man kindly.“I want to tell him the truth. He’s only a baby now, but I want to record it, for when he grows up. I was never told the truth, you know? And I think if he knows it, he will stand a chance.”He nodded for me to continue.“And I want to tell him about our life in the city,” I said. “Because that’s all gone now. He’ll never know it.”“Admirable,” said the old man.“Not really,” I said. “Not if you knew.”“So tell me,” he said. “Maybe it will make it easier to write if you tell me first.”“Do you think so?” I said.He shook his head. “I can’t tell. It depends.”“It is a long story,” I said. “It would take a while to explain.”“This will be a long journey,” said the old man.I folded the paper and drank the rest of the glass of spirits. It burned in my chest like fire and gave me courage and made me melancholy at the same time. He introduced himself at last as Mr. Hardy. I told him my name was Anselm. We sat there talking about nothing at all for a long while, and the wind cried like voices in the dark outside. Then, as the darkness drew on, I started to tell him the story. There was nothing else to do on this bleak night. I told him how it started with our shop and with the graveyard and with the old days on Citadel Street, and there I got confused and fell silent, trying to think where it began. “With Aldebaran’s funeral,” I said eventually.“Aldebaran is dead?” he said, and started as though he had been struck in the chest.“Yes,” I said. “He died in July. Did you not know?”He shook his head. Everyone in the country knew it, but this man had somehow missed the fact. He went on shaking his head and said, “Aldebaran is dead,” again, but this time it was not a question. “Tell me this story,” he said. “I want to hear.”From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Catherine Banner:
“A rising talent.”

From the Hardcover edition.