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Shadows of the Master
General information

Star of Deltora


Emily Rodda


Marc McBride (cover)


The Star of Deltora sailing with the Isle of Tier in the horizon and Britta's face in the background.


Scholastic Press, a division of Scholastic Australia


August 1, 2015

Followed by

Two Moons

Shadows of the Master is a fantasy novel written by Emily Rodda. It is the first book in the Star of Deltora series. The series is set in the same universe as Deltora Quest, The Three Doors and Rowan of Rin. Shadows of the Master was released on August 1, 2015.

The book deals with some heavy subjects, including post-traumatic disorder in the case of the Shadowlands survivors, and prejudice towards foreigners.

Book description[]

"Britta of Del wants nothing less than to be the new Apprentice Trader of the Rosalyn fleet. Family and friends and even the terrible secret of her parentage will not stop her. But how can she succeed when her true identity must surely be guessed by Trader Mab, who knew her father, and her crew of the Star of Deltora? Relying on no more than her wits and the kind acts of friends she makes along the way, Britta is drawn closer to her terrible destiny."[1]


Far away in the Silver Sea, in a cavern at the centre of the emerald green Isle of Tier, the King of Tier, or "the Master of the Staff", sits, remembering a time long past. Images come into his mind of their own accord: a darkening sky; black, red-rimmed clouds hurtling towards Del; a tall woman standing on the stern of a ship moored in Del harbour, a woman with fiery red hair. The King gives her a name: Mab. In the memory, he relives the time just before the Shadow Lord's invasion, when a boy, who we are left to believe is himself, was found by the deckhand Mikah while trying to stowaway on Mab's ship, as he had heard from a woman called Lean Alice that a time of darkness was coming and he did not want to be caught in Del 'like a fish in a net'. He says his name is Larsett, but that everybody calls him "Dare". He recalls how Dare pleaded with Mab to take him along, telling her how he wanted to be a trader like her, and sail the nine seas and find all the treasures found in old tales, including the Isle of Dreams, the Crown of Snakes, and the Staff of Tier that cures all ills. Mab says that if such fables interested him, he is not a trader but a treasure hunter, and will come to no good, but since they were undermanned at the time, she finally agreed to let him stay as part of the crew.

The Rosalyn fleet escaped Deltora and went into exile moments before the Shadow Lord's arrival, taking with it the original Rosalyn Trust Deed and the prized portrait of the first Trader Rosalyn. However, Mab never forgot her homeland — when she heard that the Shadow Lord had been driven away and the monarchy restored, she returned her fleet to its rightful place in Del harbour. She quickly became a legend for her actions, but some people still thought badly of her for not letting her ships burn on the day of the invasion.

In a shop in the centre of Del, a girl named Britta is bargaining with a new customer over a whole cheese and a jar of pickled onions when she receives a message through the polypan Bosun, from her old friend Captain Gripp, urging her to come to his hut in Del harbour immediately. Alarmed at this, for this is not usually how Gripp sends her messages, Britta quickly finishes her bargaining and hurries over to his home.

As she is walking through Del she is joined by her old friend, Jantsy, who offers to come with her to the harbour. Britta is glad for his company, but feels bitterness at what her life has become since she, her mother and her sister fled Del harbour exactly eight years ago to a little shop in the centre of Del. She is tired of hiding and sick of being shadowed by her father's traitorous actions, and longs to achieve her dream of becoming a trader and gaining back her father's ship, the Star of Deltora, which was comandeered by the Rosalyn fleet after her father, Dare Larsett's betrayal. As she and Jantsy arrive in the harbour, Jantsy notices an elderly woman gazing at Britta woman, making strange signs in the air with her hands, meant to ward off evil. Thinking that she may mean her harm, Jantsy gestures at her to stay away. The woman warns him that Britta does not walk alone, to which Jantsy responds that of course she does not, because he is with her and will not let any harm come to her if he can help it. The woman shrinks away then, warning Jantsy that there will come a time when he will wish he had listened to Lean Alice.

Jantsy and Britta continue on, and as Britta sees the Star Jantsy realises just what the ship means to her. At the entrance to Gripp's hut, Jantsy refuses to go in and offers to wait for Britta outside so that he can walk her home when she is finished. Britta walks into the hut, where she is greeted with surprising news: Gripp has enrolled her in the Rosalyn Trust competition, a contest in which an apprentice is chosen for the current Trader Rosalyn. Though afraid of discovery, knowing fully what it would mean for her and her family, Britta decides to take part in the competition.

Britta returns home with mixed feelings about her choice, feeling guilty at what she is about to do, knowing full well that Maarie will disapprove and that it could have disastrous consequences for them if it ends badly. To comfort herself, Britta reads the tale of the sorcerer Tier from A Trader's Life, a book she gained through trade when she was a child. This fuels her determination and sense of purpose, as she had hoped it would, and she resolves not to let her father's wrongdoing control her life.


Listed in order of first appearance (or mention):


  • The series is set around 15 years after Deltora Quest 3.


  1. Rodda, Emily. Shadows of the Master. Omnibus Books, an imprint of Scholastic Australia. 2015.