Melody Finch by Ian Boyd & Gary Luck

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Genre: Middle Grade

Melody Finch is a new release eco-fantasy novel about the hardships of drought along Australia's major river system, the Murray Darling Basin, as seen through the eyes of its native wildlife.

When lightning strikes the Klomp family's sheep station in Charleville, Queensland, 12-year-old Melody Klomp turns into a Diamond Firetail Finch. While she comes to terms with life as a bird, she is approached by two frog spies from the secretive network, Infrgnito. The spies inform Melody that big rains are coming that will fill the river system with water, all the way down to the Coorong where it enters the sea at the Murray Mouth. Melody realises that she must get the news to her Nanna Bell who runs a tour boat on the Coorong.The ecological tourism industry is suffering as a result of the drought, and Nanna Bell is being pressured by an evil fisherman named Dermott Finnegan to sell him her beloved tour boat, The Isabella. Without access to telephones or the internet, Melody realises that she has no other choice but to fly down one of the driest, harshest regions of Australia. Accompanied by Ramon, a gregarious rainbow bee-eater, and a bee named Buzza, Melody begins an amazing journey, meeting a Goshawk named Ghost and a wandering platypus named Clancy of the Billabong. Half way along her adventure, she is delayed at the Menindee Lakes and meets the mysterious leader of Infrognito, Belladonna. Here, she learns that she has been chosen by Spirits of the land, air and water to help save the animal world from the hardships of climate change. Aided by two of Belladonna's pelican friends, Melody continues on to the Coorong. There, she finds the Isabella stranded in an isolated bay and begins a frantic search for Nanna Bell. To make matters worse, Finnegan is roaming around the waters shooting any seal who he finds raiding his fishing nets. With the help of Ghost and an army of seagull friends, Melody fights Finnegan and his pet osprey, Silverclaw, as they threaten to take control of the Coorong, threatening all animal life. Melody Finch is a story which introduces some of Australia's lesser known animal species. Their adventures highlight the true plight of animals that live along all river systems of similar climates as they cope with longer droughts than ever before.