Compelling post-apocalyptic drama that will have you eager for more; book two of the award-winning Sea-wreck trilogy.
In the battle for survival, is endurance enough?
Vidya and Ebony Hill: two halves of a community trying to forge a future from the ruins of the past. But they are not the only survivors, and theirs is not the only way.
When Ness, now based in the mainland community of Vidya, travels to the city's inland farms she is seeking a place to belong. Instead she finds a community imperilled and must set aside her doubts as she helps fight against a threat no one had imagined, no one prepared for.
In the midst of the chaos can she help fellow-islander Ronan come to terms with the loss of his home and family – or is her own grief and longing, buried deep, too strong?
Turning my back on the yard I look down at my hands, at the dirt ingrained in my skin and lodged beneath my nails. Tears clag in my voice. I take a breath. ‘I don’t belong,’ I say. ‘Maybe there’s nowhere I belong.’
Ronan's eyes graze mine and slide away. ‘What makes anyone belong anywhere?’
Photo shoot, Ebony Hill cover
What the Reviewers Say
"Cracking sequel to the award-winning The Sea-wreck Stranger."
– Weekend Herald, Auckland
"Ebony Hill is a dramatic, unpredictable read that should appeal to readers beyond its target demographic. Anna Mackenzie has created a strong and independent heroine in Ness, who, much like the characters in John Marsden's Tomorrow, When the War Began series, finds herself an unlikely participant in an unforeseen war... at its core this novel is a coming-of-age story of survival that should keep teenagers reading late into the night.”
– Anna Gowan, TVNZ
"Mackenzie writes economically and well ... Ebony Hill is marked by good characterisation... thoughtful and reflective."
– NZ Book Awards Judges' Report
Awards & Nominations
CLF/Storylines Notable Book 2011
Shortlisted NZ Post Book Awards 2011
Shortlisted Sir Julius Vogel Award 2011
Shortlisted LIANZA Award 2011
Comprehensive Teaching Notes are available for all Anna's books.
Story Behind the Story – Anna says:
A sequel is both harder and easier than a stand-alone novel. You already have the characters and texture of the story, which should make it more straightforward but, in reality, not having to ‘find’ them takes away some of the sense of discovery in the writing process.
Then there's the whole issue of backstory – how much do you add? Some readers will be familiar with the previous book, some will not. For the benefit of those who haven’t read the previous titles(s), essential details must be included, but in a very subtle way so that readers for whom the preceding story still burns fresh will not be slowed in their onward journey. It can be a delicate balance.
Ebony Hill was my first sequel. It is set two years on from The Sea-wreck Stranger and in a very different community. The novel allows Ness room to grow and to discover her own potential without ever allowing her to forget where she comes from and what she has given up. It explores the trade-offs that are part of life and the compromises we must all make.
Most of us will never have to deal with the kinds of issues Ness faces, or confront head-on such a significant 'greater good' argument. Yet throughout our lives we will all make compromises and be forced to choose where our own lines in the sand are drawn. Sometimes we do so by hiding our heads in the sand. Ness isn't that kind of girl, and the issues she confronts aren't the sort that quietly pass by. I don’t think it hurts any of us to think about what our own reactions would be to the issues faced by Ness and her friends and to think about exactly where we would choose to make a stand – and far better that we are able to do so through fiction than reality!
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