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The Silver Door
The Silver Door
General information
Series

The Three Doors

Author

Emily Rodda

Illustrator

Marc McBride (cover)
Kate Rowe (any illustrations associated with the story, including maps and letters)

Publication
Publisher

Omnibus Books - imprint of Scholastic Australia

Published

April 4th, 2012

Chronology
Preceded by

The Golden Door

Followed by

The Third Door

The Silver Door is a fantasy novel written by Emily Rodda. It is the second book in the Three Doors trilogy.

Book description

"Rye is willing to risk everything to save his brothers, lost in the terrifying world beyond the Wall of Weld. Sonia is determined to find and destroy the Enemy who is sending the ferocious flying beasts called skimmers to ravage the city. The companions barely escaped with their lives during their first thrilling adventure beyond the golden Door. But they won't give up. Their desperate quest must continue. Deep in the ancient heart of the Keep of Weld, two more doors await them."[1]

Plot

After the defeat of Olt; Rye, Sonia, Dirk, and Faene head on to the Fell Zone and Weld. They stopped at the deserted town of Fleet, so Faene can say goodbye to her hometown and visit her parent's grave. As Faene is talking to Dirk, Rye observes the farewell message on Fleet's welcome board, which reads 'FArEwell dorNE! we have GOne TO FInd The priZe of FrEEdom'. Rye soon realises that the capitalised letters spell a message, reading ‘FAENE! GO TO FITZFEE’. Obeying the message, the group continue to travel until they reach the edge of the Fell Zone, where FitzFee’s goat farm is located. Rye is hesitant to visit FitzFee, as both he and Sonia feel an ever-increasing sense of urgency. However, they run into him by chance on the road. They notify him of Olt's defeat and he is delighted. FitzFee offers to let them stay at his house for a time, but says he will meet them later as he has to make deliveries. He also tells them that Nanion left four Fleet horses behind for Faene. He hints at the fact that he believes Rye, Dirk, and Sonia are residents of the stronghold built on the eastern coast of Dorne by Olt’s youngest brother, who was exiled some time ago. He heads off, and Faene - deciding to follow Dirk to Weld - leaves a letter behind bidding FitzFee farewell.

Rye experiments with the red feather, and finds out that it has the power of levitation (though not propulsion). It is also revealed that Rye is able to share his powers via touch. Using the feather, the group travels over the Fell Zone, eventually finding the area where they arrived. Rye is concerned that he still cannot see Weld’s Wall. The group lands in the Fell Zone. Rye hears the whispering of the Fellan, still debating the nature of the prophecy. The Golden Door is not visible to anyone except Sonia, who notices it immediately. Once she points it out, the others can see it. Unfortunately, they also see that there is no apparent way to open it from this side. 

The group is attacked by a fell dragon. Running to share the hood’s invisibility power with his friends, Rye accidentally knocks the bell tree stick against the door, causing it to open. The group is teleported into the Chamber of Doors. 

Not wanting to be noticed by the Warden, Sonia leads the group up the chimney, telling them that she has a friend they need to talk to. While passing the kitchens, Rye hears his mother Lisbeth and another woman talking. They discuss how the Warden’s daughter is served food in her room, as the Warden wanted a son and had little time for her.

​​​He also overhears the Warden and his officer Jordan discussing the healer Tallus. Tallus has made a discovery about skimmers that he wants to discuss with the Warden, and is currently sitting outside Jordan’s office, “telling his story to anyone who will listen".

The group eventually makes it to Sonia’s friend's room. The friend is revealed to be the Warden’s daughter, Annocki. Annocki is angry that Sonia went beyond the Wall without telling her. Sonia was originally Annocki’s lady-in-waiting, and Annocki has been covering for her disappearance. One of the reasons Sonia was so determined to get beyond the Wall and find the skimmers was to prevent Annocki from being married off to a stranger. Annocki agrees to let the group stay the night, and to look after Faene once the others go through the Silver Door. 

That night Rye has a dream about Sholto observing the behaviour of a flock of skimmers that are unable to attack him due to an invisible barrier. He also senses a malevolent presence in the area.

The following morning, a letter from the Warden is delivered to the room, impersonally telling his daughter that the chimney was damaged last night by a skimmer attack, and workers will be repairing it that day. As this will prevent the group leaving the tower via the chimney, Sonia suggests that they try and reach the fireplace in the waiting room instead.

Dirk, Sonia, and Rye are able to sneak down to the ground floor using the invisibility hood. They make it to the waiting room, where they observe a confrontation between Tallus and the Warden. Tallus explains that he has been examining the eyes of skimmers. Skimmers are blind in daylight, having no protection from the sun within their eyes. As such, Tallus suggests that lighting up Weld with a system of lanterns and mirrors will repel the skimmers. The Warden dismisses this possibility, claiming that the workers needed to assemble this system cannot be moved from their duties on the Wall.

After this, the group heads down the chimney into the Chamber of Doors. Rye again feels drawn to the Wooden Door (much more strongly this time). But in the end he selects the Silver Door, and the group is teleported through.

On the other side of a door is a wasteland. The area is covered in rounded and strangely patterned stones, and holes in the ground that ooze and yellow mist. Clouds and fog fill the air. Sonia is insistent that this area is not Dorne. The area is also seeped in sorcery that saps the will and leads people into despair.

Rye has some visions of Sholto in this area, including Sholto making a small pyramid of rocks. Rye is able to locate this pyramid, and notices that the rocks of the area are completely covered in colourful snails. Comparing the shells of the snail to the shell found in his bag of powers, he concludes that they are in Dorne. Sonia examines the pyramid too, and finds scraps of Sholto’s notebook which he hid in the pyramid.

Meanwhile, Dirk finds a rusted skimmer hook among the rocks, which is appropriate as a monstrous bird suddenly attacks the group. The bird is somehow able to see past the effects of the invisibility hood. However, Rye discovers that the snail shell gives him the power of invulnerability, and is able to protect his friends long enough for the bird to give up and fly away. Rye was able to sense that the bird was a creation of the malevolent presence he sensed in his dream about Sholto, and suggests that they follow it.

Reading the scraps of Sholto's notebook further, Sholto mentions that, "everything has changed". He also writes that he saw a monstrous bird drop a large animal and then speed off as if called. He intends to follow the bird, but will leave his notebook for another Weld volunteer to find.

Travelling across the wasteland, the group finds several metal items among the rocks. They summarise that the area is used to dump waste, as the snails will eat anything not made of metal. This is why the hood did not work effectively.

They also find several other pyramids that Sholto left behind as markers. Towards evening Dirk suggests they stop and build a shelter for the night, but Sonia insists that the wasteland is almost at an end. They eventually make it out of the wasteland, coming to a large, dusty plain with a pebbled path running through it. They meet a skinny, white-haired and manic man. The man shows them a sign warning people that the penalty for entering “The Saltings” is death. This sign is marked with the symbol of the The Shadowlord.

The man - speaking in the third person - introduces himself as Bones. Bones tells the group that the Master rules over The Scour (the dusty plain) and The Saltings (the rock-covered landscape). Bones also mentions that he was secretly stalking the trio as they travelled over The Saltings, and expresses confidence that they are “too much for the Master” as they carry powerful magic.

Dirk does not trust Bones, but Rye and Sonia are kind to him. Bones takes a shine to them, and agrees to take them to the “Den”. He reveals a sled made of bone, loaded with the bones of a bloodhog . He mentions that he saw a sky serpent drop the body of the bloodhog some time ago, which Rye connects to the incident mentioned in Sholto’s notebook. Hoping to find out about Sholto, Rye asks how long ago the bloodhog was dropped. Bones says three days ago, which disappoints Rye as he does not know how Sholto could have survived in The Saltings for over a year prior to this.

Bones leads the trio along the path to an outpost of the Den, and they encounter a number of ragged people who reside there. These people are all middle-aged or older (as young people are taken to the Diggings), and have their hands stained by jell; a bright red, viscous, substance found underground.

Bones introduces them to the leader of the community - Cap, an old, one-legged man. Cap directs them out of the Scour, telling them to be sure to stick to the trail as the landscape is full of jell-pits. He also recommends that Rye and Sonia hide their hair. He tells them that their path will take them past “the Diggings”. He thinks they are spies from over the sea who seek to destroy the Master, and tells them that their mission will be a failure. He asks them to leave, as their presence will only draw the attention of the Master. All this time, the trio can hear a sound like a large animal, but Cap tells them not to pay attention to it.

Rye and Sonia conclude that Cap is trying to hide something, while Dirk thinks they should leave him alone. Using the power of the hood, the trio trail Cap - who headed in the direction of the sound. It is revealed that the sound comes from a car-like machine belonging to Four-Eyes, a travelling trader of dubious ethics. Bones is also in the area, having gone to meet Four-Eyes. In a manic mood, he not only mentions the trio to Four-Eyes; but also mentions that Four-Eyes cheated him out of proper payment for the belongings of the “stranger”, and that the Den has already used the bones of the stranger.

Moving closer, the trio spots a small dirt hut with a roof of bones beyond a dug trench, with a small pool of water beside it - presumably the Den. They follow Cap and Four-Eyes over the bridge spanning the trench. While they talk, Rye notices that Four-Eyes has a lantern that belonged to Sholto.

The trio sneaks back over the bridge, past Four-Eye’s machine. Passing by, Rye notices a strange symbol finger-painted on one of the panels. Dirk convinces the other to stowaway on the machine, as Four-Eyes mentioned he was planning to stop at the Diggings. While hiding, Rye finds another finger-painted symbol on a lock-box.

Four-Eyes eventually leaves the Den, though the residents are angry as he has underpaid them for their jell and the bloodhog skull. Rye notices that he has a pair of eyes on the back of his head. Four Eyes, speaking to his pet clink, mentions rumours that something big for the Master is about to happen at the Harbour. While travelling, the trio discuss why Four Eyes would bother to buy jell - which as far as they know is only useful as a dye. 

The trio sleep, and so completely miss the excitement when four other stowaways emerge from some sacks (collected at Nanny’s Pride Farm) and hijack the machine. The four hijackers are called Bird, Bean, Chub, and Itch . They hold the trio at knifepoint. Bird in particular is suspicious of Sonia, and gets one of her friends to knock Sonia out with a chloroform-like substance (myrmon). They also reveal that they are working against the Master. Rye notices that they are short like FitzFee, and asks if they know him. This question seems to shock and anger the group.

The four hijackers abandon a drugged Dirk and some of the other cargo before moving on. They also take Rye’s magic bag and throw it from the machine (though Rye was wearing the hood around his neck at the time, so this is safe).

Bird explains that her community has often had members taken as slaves to the Diggings, but they recently received a message telling them which hut they were being held in (the strange symbols painted onto the machine). Threatening Sonia, she forces Rye to help them with their plan to free their friends and family, promising to let him return to find Dirk afterwards. 

Rye and the others arrive at the Diggings. Rye is disguised in a heavy coat and cap, while the others pretend to be captives. Bird explains that the guards will be more likely to believe him as he is a stranger. They give him a letter stolen from a slave hunter, which is signed by someone named Brand. While the letter itself does not have any mention of freeing slaves, Bird explains that at this time of night no-one capable of reading will be on duty, and so all that is needed is the correct signature, and typography.

The Diggings themselves are lit up even though it is night, and surrounded by a metal wire fence. It appears to be a slave mining camp, guarded by Grey Guards. One such guard approaches Rye. Rye mentions that he needs slaves for a newly discovered jell pit, and hands the guard the letter. 

The slaves are loaded onto the machine, and the machine starts to move off. However, before they can escape, they are stopped by a woman named Kyte , who is heralding a cart and wants Rye to clear the road. Kyte was the woman who attacked Nanny’s Pride Farms, and who had the letter stolen from her. She instantly recognises the letter as a fake. The escapees try to make a run for it, but most are frozen by some kind of magic/advanced tech. Ktye orders these recaptured people to be taken to the Harbour for some kind of experiment (she was originally planning to take these test subjects from the Den).

While being transported, Rye realsies that the residents of the wastelands go by nicknames, in accordance with an old belief that knowing someone’s real name gives you power over them (which is why Bird reacted so strongly to Rye knowing the name FitzFee). He is also able to telepathically connect to Sonia, and fills her in on what she has missed.

The captives arrive at a massive, industrial building and are taken inside. The interior of the building is lit by harsh, magical light. The guards have assumed Sonia is one of the Nanny’s Farm people, and she is continuing to pretend as such. The captives are taken to a room occupied by Brand, talking with the Master via a strange black box. The Master mentions the spies seen by the bird in the Saltings, and Brand promises to capture them. The Master also confirms that he is the middle brother, the Lord of Shadows.

Brand dismisses Kyte, who leads the captives into a lift/elevator. This takes them down, to a room lit with red light and smelling strongly of jell. The room is occupied by people in grey coats and black gloves, as well as numerous skimmers, which are penned in by magic force-fields.  Kyte speaks to one of the people, referring to him as Vrett. She mentions that it is his role to assess the health of the captives. Rye is overjoyed to see that this is Sholto. However, Sholto seems not to recognise him. 

The captives are taken into the next room, where Rye sees a flock of skimmers that have been bred to be able to hunt in daylight. This is the nature of the experiment, testing the hunting capabilities of the new skimmers.

They are then taken and held in a small cell. The other captives start to make a plan to capture Sholto when he comes to assess them. Rye finds a note in his pocket, containing a coded note from Sholto telling him, “Later”. Sholto eventually arrives at the cell. He is frustrated to see Rye here, as now he has to help them escape. He explains that Brand has taken control of the lifts/elevators, and so everyone is now trapped underground. In addition, the Harbour building itself has been sealed.

Sonia suggests that, as they cannot escape, they at least kill the skimmers by setting the building on fire, but Sholto tells them there is nothing in the facility capable of starting a fire.

As they discuss what to do next, a vent in the ceiling is broken by Four-Eye’s pet clink. Dirk shouts down the vent, telling Rye that Bones had found him on the side of the road. They are currently on the roof of the facility. Dirk drops the bag of powers down into the cell.

Rye and Sholto leave the cell, leaving Sonia behind to pretend to be Rye in case any guards pass by. Sholto takes Rye to an area of the facility called the Dispatch Area. They both change into a strange suit that conceals human warmth and scent, effectively hiding them from skimmers. This is needed, as the subsequent room is filled with sleeping skimmers, hanging like bats from the ceiling. Sholto explains that the light-resistant skimmers were developed with the help of jell, which increases the speed of adaptation in plants and animals. He also points out a rounded and sealed door in the far wall, covered with a fabric-like substance. As there is the sound of moving water behind this door, he explains that he thinks that at high tide this doorway is underwater. Rye confirms this by using the magic crystal. While doing so he also sees the red-tinged clouds, commonly associated with the Shadowlord. Sholto explains that he does not know how to open the door. Rye has the idea to use the golden key, which when touched to the door, does indeed open it.

The water flows into the room. Using the scale, Rye is able to retreat to the exit, while the skimmers in the room are caught in the water and drown. Sholto and Rye decide to first save the prisoners, then open the door into the room with the daylight skimmers so that they will drown too. However, when they arrive back at the cell they find that the prisoners have already been moved. The lifts/elevators are currently on the top floor, and Sholto has no way of calling them down. Rye considers using the scale to swim out of the facility, then looping back around to try and find another way in, but knows this will take too long. Instead, they head to the Guard Room, the only area of the facility that Sholto has not yet explored.

In the room is a large cage containing two of the monstrous birds. The ceiling is very high up, and at the top is a narrow section of bars that leads to the outside. Rye uses the feather to reach this section of bars.

Past the bars is a wide arena-like area, covered with a heavy grating. Balconies sit on the sides of the walls, each protected by one of the force-fields. Three chutes for releasing the skimmers are located in the wall. Wiggling past the bars, Rye and Sholto see the slaves located in the middle of the arena. They are being guarded by Kyte and her guards. Brand arrives on one of the balconies, along with the device he used to talk to the Shadowlord. Rye also notices Dirk and Bones on the roof, and gets in contact with them. Dirk is able to lift up an air-vent cover on the roof, creating a passageway out of the arena.

Rye telepathically contacts Sonia and explains his plan to her. She gets the prisoners to link arms so they can all share the powers. Using the hood, Rye sneaks down into the arena. Dirk lowers a rope down, and Rye gets all the prisoners to hang onto it. He uses the hood to conceal them, the feather to lift them, the shell to protect them, and the rope to move them upwards. At first the guards do not notice, but Brand is quick to realise they are gone. At the same time, one of the prisoners (Pepper) loses his grip on the rope. While falling, the prisoner accidentally pulls off Rye's hood, revealing the prisoners (though he also manages to halt his fall).

Several guards jump and in an attempt to grab the prisoners, but cannot get a grip thanks to the power of the shell. However, others grab onto the rope itself, weighing it down. Kyte tries to attack Dirk and Sholto (who are pulling the rope) with a weapon that creates explosions, however her aim twists to the side each time she tries and she is unable to hit them.

Rye focuses on the power of the feather and is able to lift all of the prisoners as well as the guards that are clinging to the rope. Most of the prisoners make it out of the ventilation shaft and to the roof, when out of desperation one of the workers releases the skimmers. The guards are attacked and killed. Sholto gets the prisoners to close the entrance to the air-vent, preventing the skimmers from escaping; but trapping himself, Rye, Dirk, Sonia, and Bird in the facility. Rye is able to use the shell to protect them, but its power is weakened by the iron in the facility and will not save them forever. 

Sholto appears to use a smoke-producing device that dazes the skimmers, long enough for everyone expect him to make it through the air-vent. Sholto antagonises Kyte, tricking her into blasting a hole in the wall that releases one of the monstrous birds. The bird kills Kyte, while Rye pulls Sholto onto the roof. The bird goes on to attack and kill the skimmers. Brand is killed via magic, as the Lord of Shadows punishes him for his failure.

Using the ring, the group travels back to Nanny’s Pride Farm. It is revealed that Sholto did not use his smoking device, and that the smoke came from somewhere else. The group agrees to go back to Weld, as they know destroying the daylight skimmers will only delay the Master. Rye insists that the Wooden Door holds the answers, and so they agree to travel through there next.

Characters

Trivia

  • In the following book (The Third Door) it is revealed that the doors lead to various parts of Dorne's history. The Golden Door led into the past, while The Silver Door leads into the future. The death of Olt in the first book changed the timeline significantly, resulting in a very different future. This is why Sholto mentions that "everything as changed" in his notebooks, as he can remember the orginal timeline.
  • The monstrous birds mentioned throughout the book are strongly implied to be Ak-Baba.

References

  1. Rodda, Emily. The Silver Door. Scholastic Australia. 2012.

See also

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