It took six years for the final volume of this trilogy to come out, and given the page count takes another two-hundred page jump upwards, I imagine it was in the category of ‘the book that ate his life’.

The longer page count is put to good use as the plot continues to evolve and become more complicated now. We have three well-formed major plot lines: Clay and Doto continue their quest to figure out what has gone wrong with the world, and how to contain Ogya. Laughing Dog falls further under the sway of Ogya while convinced he’s still in control and fights the forest that recently has become so especially deadly. And Cloud is dealing with having stepped into a leadership role she had refused so long as she guides the exiles of the People of the Savanna away from the forest and Ogya.

Clay and Doto remain isolated from the rest of the plot for much of this book, while the last two plot lines continue to resonate with each other, and Cloud’s journey throws off more sub-plots and a new major viewpoint character. The major character growth is here too; Clay and Doto have worked through their major issues (though by no means all of them) by now, so the engine of character development is largely left to Cloud and Mirage, and much of the action is dominated by the journey of the exiles. And it is very well handled.

Needless to say, Campbell has stuck the landing, and even though the series began quite well, it finishes better than it started. It’s much more complicated than the series began, which probably accounts for the time as well as the length.