Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Type: Fantasy Fiction
Subject: Together with his friend Nisha, Anand embarks on what may be his most dangerous mission traveling to the cold and forbidding world of Shadowland in his attempt to restore the conch to its rightful place, and his home to its original splendor.
In Shadowland, the final book of the Brotherhood of the Conch trilogy, our hero Anand, now 15 years old, and his friend Nisha must journey several hundred years into the future to find the Conch and restore it to the Silver Valley which has vanished from its magical location in the Himalayas.
As the story opens, Anand is sitting in a dark, dank cave high above the Silver Valley waiting for the mystical hermit who lives in the cave to reappear.He has been sent to the cave to study with the hermit, the only person who can help Anand develop his talent of communication with objects of magical power.After waiting for 4 days, one day longer than his mentor, Abhaydatta, had ordered him to wait, Anand heads back to the Brotherhood’s community, only to discover that it has disappeared.Just beyond the partially opened secret gateway, he finds Nisha who had also been away from Silver Valley gathering herbs.They begin the long climb back to the mountaintop cave where Anand had left a stash of food for the hermit. As they reach the cave, they stumble upon the hermit who tells then that “a powerful force from a distant world has turned the valley into a frozen wasteland” taking the conch and the most powerful of the magicians with it and leaving the rest lost in the abyss. He tells Anand and Nisha that they “must go into the other world and retrieve the conch.” Anand calls to the Mirror of Fire and Dreaming which transports him and Nisha to the city of Coal.
Enshrouded in an oxygen depleted layer of thick brown smog, Coal is the nightmare futuristic city modern day global warming activists warn us of. Despotic scientists have built bubble compounds in which the “chosen” live and work. They are dependent upon slave labor from the slums outside of the bubbles to complete manual labor.To suppress the growing rebel movement (led by magicians), large electronic blocking towers have been built which interact with electric collars the laborers must wear to keep them from talking among themselves. The blocking towers also make it impossible for Anand to communicate with the conch. After spending the night in a rehabilitation center, Anand and Nisha are sent to the Farm as day laborers.There they meet a boy B-1112 , an apprentice magician who advises Anand to try to contact the conch in the Farm bubble because the blocking force does not always work there. Anand telepaths the conch who responds. “Locked in vault. Suffocating. Come soon. Great danger. Use scientist woman.”