Cover image for Rowan and the Ice-Creepers
Rowan and the Ice-Creepers
Rodda, Emily.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Greenwillow Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
261 pages ; 22 cm
When a bitter winter threatens starvation to the people of Rin who set out for the coast, Rowan and several others stay behind for various reasons and are led to a startling discovery about their people's past.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.4 8.0 73395.

Format :


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Material Type
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X Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

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"Four must make their sacrifice. In the realm twixt fire and ice . . . The quest unites both life and death." The wise woman Sheba's ominous words haunt Rowan. The bitter winter has lasted far too long and won't loosen its deadly hold on the land. As food stores dwindle, the people of Rin flee to the warmer coast. Rowan and two friends -- and a shadow -- journey up the mountain that towers over Rin to seek the source of the unending cold. Rowan knows from past experience that the mountain is unpredictable and harbors many dangers. But now waves of freezing air stream down its sides. And ferocious ice creepers -- giant eyeless creatures with gaping jaws and teeth like shards of ice -- slither from its shadow eager to devour any warm being. Will Rowan and his friends somehow be able to bring spring -- and life -- back to the land? Can they survive the perils of the mountain and the attacks of the ice creepers?

Author Notes

Australian author, Emily Rodda grew up in Sydney, Australia. She attended the University of Sydney and graduated in 1973. Her degree in English literature brought her a career in publishing until she wrote her first book, Something Special, in 1984. She has since gone on to write numerous fantasy series including the Deltora Quest series and the Raven Hill Mysteries. She has won several awards in her native Australia and an anime series has been created based on Deltora Quest.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-7. Rodda continues her popular Rowan of Rin series in a tale that finds the residents of Rin suffering the effects of a long and brutal winter. After receiving a mysterious riddle from Sheba, the village seer, Rowan goes up the Mountain, accompanied by Shaaran; Norris, Shaaran's warrior brother; and Zeel, a Zebak with ties to both the Traveler and Maris peoples. Sheba has lent Rowan her gold medallion, which provides the group with advice along their journey even as it causes Rowan to see visions of horrible events to come. As in the earlier book, Rin is an appealing alternate reality, filled with characters exhibiting a wide range of human frailties as well as monsters guaranteed to chill the hardiest soul. The action never lags, and readers will appreciate that the solution to Rin's problem lies in the villagers' accepting the wisdom of nature rather than circumventing it for human convenience. Although the story will be particularly appealing to Rowan's established fans, casual fantasy and adventure readers will enjoy it, too. --Kay Weisman Copyright 2003 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-In the fifth book (Greenwillow, 2003) in Emily Rodda's popular Rowan of Rin series, Rowan, the young animal keeper who has been called on many times to save his people from dangerous situations, remains behind in the village while the others flee a particularly harsh winter. Rowan knows he must travel to the heart of the mountain to learn why the weather is so life-threateningly cold. He only has a riddle, given to him by Sheba the Witch, and a few prophetic verses to guide him. He follows the bukshah (ox-like animals) up the mountain to discover the origin of the long and frigid winter. Along the way he meets three friends who helped him in previous adventures. They battle nasty ice creepers (enormous worms covered in ice) and survive landslides and numbing cold, guided by the visions that Rowan sees in daydreams and by the riddles contained within the visions. Eventually Rowan discovers that the bukshah have a role to play in controlling the ice creeper population and ensuring a proper climate. Steven Crossley, who narrated the previous books in the series, expertly conveys Rowan's courage and determination. The narration is unhurried and deliberate, in perfect balance with the terrifying dangers that Rowan faces. Although Rodda includes information about Rowan's earlier adventures here, this title doesn't stand completely on its own and will be better understood and enjoyed after listening to the four previous audiobooks.-Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Rowan and the Ice Creepers Chapter One It Is a Curse! The village of Rin huddled, freezing, in a silent world of white. Deep snow blanketed the valley. The Mountain brooded against the gray sky like a vast ice sculture capped with cloud. Never had there been a winter like this. Never had the snow fallen so thickly. Never had the cold been so bitter. And never had it lasted so long. By the calendar, it was spring -- the time for planting, and for blossom, bees, and nesting birds. But still the air was deadly chill, fields and gardens lay buried, and snow weighed down the bare branches of the trees in Strong Jonn's orchard. A meeting was called, but it was too cold for the people to gather in the village square. They crowded instead in the House of Books, shivering and murmuring amid the smell of oil lamps, parchment, and old paper. Deep shadows flickered on worried faces, gesturing hands. The lamps were turned low, for oil, like everything else, was in short supply. Rowan, who had been in the bukshah field when the meeting bell sounded, arrived last of all. For a time he stood outside the door, stamping the snow from his boots. Despite the cold, he was in no hurry to enter. He knew what old Lann, the village leader, was going to say to the people, and he had made his own decision on what he was going to do about it. For now, his mind was still with the bukshah. The great gentle beasts he tended had strayed again during the night. They tried it every winter, but this year they had broken out of their field over and over again. This time they had wandered past the silent mill, its huge wheel stuck fast in the ice of the stream, and moved on till they had almost reached the base of the Mountain. It had taken hours to tempt them back to their field -- hours, and the last few handfuls of oats from the storehouse. There will be trouble when it is discovered those oats are gone, Rowan thought ruefully. But what else could I do? Let the bukshah wander off to die? He did not blame the beasts for breaking down their fence. They were hungry. The bales of hay on which they fed in winter were almost gone, and in a desperate attempt to make the food last, Rowan had been forced to cut their daily ration by half. Several of the oldest and frailest members of the herd had already weakened and died. But Rowan knew that if food was scarce in the valley, it did not exist at all outside it. Except where sheer, rocky cliffs showed as brutal gashes on the shimmering whiteness of the Mountain, the land was snow covered on every side, as far as the eye could see. "You must stop trying to stray, Star," Rowan had said to his favorite, the leader of the herd, when at last all the beasts were back in their field. "You must stay here where I can care for you." Star had turned her great head to look at him and rumbled deep in her throat. Her small dark eyes were troubled. She wanted to please Rowan and obey him. But all her instincts were telling her that he was wrong. Dimly understanding, Rowan had patted her, feeling with dismay the jutting ribs beneath her shaggy coat. "Spring will surely come soon, Star," he had whispered. "The snow will melt and there will be grass for you to eat once more. Just a little longer..." But how much longer? Rowan thought now. How long can this go on? Gritting his teeth, he pushed open the door and slipped into the crowded room. Shaaran and Norris, the two young people he had rescued from the enemy land of the Zebak, moved quickly to his side. They had clearly been watching for him. Shaaran's soft eyes were anxious, but her brother's face was alive with curiosity. "Where have you been hiding yourself, Rowan?" Norris whispered. "We have not seen you for days!" He grinned and glanced at his sister teasingly. "Shaaran thinks you have been avoiding us. She fears we have done something to offend you. Please put her out of her misery and tell her it is not so." "Norris!" Shaaran hissed, blushing scarlet. Rowan forced a smile. "Of course you have not offended me," he murmured. That at least he could say truly, though he could not deny the rest. How could he have been with his friends and not told them what was about to happen? So he had avoided them. But now they were about to hear everything. His heart ached at the thought of their dismay. Norris would have pressed him further, but at that moment there was movement at the front of the room. Lann was preparing to speak. She was standing in the place of honor, in front of the hanging strips of painted silk that told in pictures the ancient story of the Rin people's slavery in the land of the Zebak. The bright paintings, glimmering in the lamplight, made a strange background to her sober figure. For more than three hundred years the Rin people had lived in freedom in their green valley, with no memory of their past and no idea that many of their own had been left behind in the dreaded place across the sea. Then, just over a year before, Rowan's little sister Annad had been snatched away and carried to the land of the Zebak. Determined to save her, Rowan had followed. He had found her, against all odds. And at the same time he had found Shaaran and Norris, the last of the lost ones. Shaaran had brought the box of silks with her when they escaped, and ever since that time the silks had hung in the House of Books, to be marveled over and discussed endlessly by the people of the village. Rowan and the Ice Creepers . Copyright © by Emily Rodda. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Rowan and the Ice Creepers by Emily Rodda All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.