Cover image for The lost conspiracy
The lost conspiracy
Hardinge, Frances.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Harper, [2009]

Physical Description:
568 pages ; 22 cm
When a lie is exposed and their tribe turns against them, Hathin must find a way to save her sister Arilou--once considered the tribe's oracle--and herself.
General Note:
Originally published under the title: Gullstruck Island. London : Macmillan Children's, 2009.
Reading Level:
Grades 5 up.

970 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 6.8 22.0 132137.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 7.6 29 Quiz: 47553.
Added Title:
Gullstruck Island.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



On an island of sandy beaches, dense jungles, and slumbering volcanoes, colonists seek to apply archaic laws to a new land, bounty hunters stalk the living for the ashes of their funerary pyres, and a smiling tribe is despised by all as traitorous murderers. It is here, in the midst of ancient tensions and new calamity, that two sisters are caught in adeadly web of deceits.

Arilou is proclaimed a beautiful prophetess--one of the island's precious oracles: a Lost. Hathin, her junior, is her nearly invisible attendant. But neither Arilou nor Hathin is exactly what she seems, and they live a lie that is carefully constructed and jealously guarded.

When the sisters are unknowingly drawn into a sinister, island-wide conspiracy, quiet, unobtrusive Hathin must journey beyond all she has ever known of her world--and of herself--in a desperate attempt to save them both. As the stakes mount and falsehoods unravel, she discovers that the only thing more dangerous than the secret she hides is the truth she must uncover.

Author Notes

Frances Hardinge was born in 1973 in the United Kingdom. Her first novel, Fly By Night, won the Bradford Boase Award in 2006. Her other books include Verdigris Deep / Well Witched, Twilight Robbery, and A Face Like Glass. Cuckoo Song won the Robert Holdstock Award for Best Novel at the British Fantasy Awards in 2015 and The Lie Tree won the 2015 Costa Book of the Year award.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Gullstruck is home to the Lace, an outcast tribe known for their perpetual smiles and decorated teeth, who fear and worship their three volcanoes while the rest of the island follows the traditions of the Cavalcaste invaders. In a Lace coastal village, Hathin cares for her sister Arilou, who may be a Lost, a people revered for their ability to travel independently of their bodies. Loathe to relinquish their new status, the villagers have hidden signs that Arilou may be only an imbecile, with Hathin bearing the brunt of responsibility. After a Lost Inspector visits the village and mysteriously dies, the terrified villagers cover that up as well, unaware that all the Lost on the island have died simultaneously; then the lies are discovered, and Arilou and the Lace are blamed for the deaths. When her village is massacred, Hathin escapes with Arilou and goes in search of revenge. This is only the beginning of a deeply imaginative story, with nuanced characters, intricate plotting, and an amazingly original setting. Though the narrative bogs down in world building, there is no shortage of tension or suspense as Hathin slowly uncovers the dangerous conspiracy threatening the island. A perfectly pitched, hopeful ending caps off this standout adventure.--Hutley, Krista Copyright 2009 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

British author Hardinge's latest feat is a luminous example of gifted storytelling at its best. Set on Gullstruck, an enchanted island of dueling dormant volcanoes, lush jungles and warring tribes, two sisters in a shunned race of perpetually smiling Lace people possess a secret. Arilou, first in line to become the next Lady Lost (a hallowed figure with a propensity for out-of-body travel), shows no sign of being the mystic she is believed to be. Hathin, Arilou's official "translator" and unofficial guardian, attempts to hide their deceit at all costs. But when a Lost Inspector comes to town to authenticate Arilou's identity, their ruse-and the fate of the Lace people-is in danger. The detailed tale that unfolds is epic, but unlike some long-for-long's-sake snooze fests, this journey feels effortless and wholly satisfying. Deliciously complex yet easily digestible, Hardinge's (Well Witched) prose is what makes the reading so enjoyable ("While Arilou's name was meant to sound like the call of an owl... Hathin's name imitated the whisper of settling dust"). Every turn of phrase (like the book itself) is thick with poetry and meaning. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9-It will take readers more than a few beats to find their bearings in this relentlessly inventive fantasy, but once they figure out the Lost (people who can send their senses out into the world and sometimes get lost from their bodies), the social relations among the colonized and colonizers of Gullstruck Island, and the physical world they inhabit, the story is gripping. Haithin is the nearly invisible viewpoint character, one of those people that you hardly realize is there, and the indispensable guide and interpreter of her sister, Arilou, who may or may not be one of the Lost. As members of a despised minority cast, the sisters are part of an elaborate scheme to convince outsiders of the worth of their village as a tourist attraction. Intrigue piles upon intrigue as the Lost are nearly exterminated and Haithin's people are blamed. Can the sisters survive the murderous crowds, fight their way through the jungles of Gullstruck, appease the violent volcanoes, and navigate the silly court life of the local ruler? Especially memorable are some of the secondary characters, including a traveling dentist who manipulates the masses while she drills teeth and a man who is nearly as unnoticeable as Haithin but who appears to be pulling the strings of state. Haithin's journey is, of course, epic. She faces hardship, tragedy, doubt, killer insects, and a river of lava and, in the end, becomes something of a myth herself. The author is as inventive with language as she is with social and cultural constructs. This novel is just plain fun.-Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.