The Wordsmith

"This book is important because it targets the dangers of global warming and the power of communication, love and expression. Without these words that we have, our lives would be unimaginably different. I would definitely recommend this book to all keen readers out there." – The Guardian

"A novel that truly stands apart for its originality and relevance… a book about words, about language, about their power to civilise – and, in the wrong hands, to abuse and dehumanise. For a writer to deal with such themes it is the most basic of requirements that she herself should handle words in a manner which exploits their potential richness and resonance. Forde rises magnificently to the challenge… Forde’s novel blends the futuristic with the retrospective, demanding that her readers consider their own language histories and their underlying philosophies. That she does this in the context of an engaging narrative accessible to a young readership is a gratifying bonus." – Robert Dunbar, The Irish Times

"The Wordsmith is warm, original, thought-provoking but most of all a tremendous page-turner; I hope this won’t be the last we hear of Letta, a brave and spirited heroine" – School Library Association

"Fantasy lovers will lap it up" – Sarah Webb, The Irish Independent in Best Summer Reads for Young Bookworms

"brilliantly original concept with superb world-building & feisty female lead" – Abi Elphinstone, author

»What do you want to do with your life, Letta?’ Marlo asked.

Letta shrugged. ‘I want to be a wordsmith. I want to be part of the new world. I don’t think about it much.’

Marlo nodded. ‘You think we can build a new world, here, in Ark?’

‘Of course,’ Letta said. ‘Don’t you?’

He shook his head slowly. ‘Not like this. Not without freedom.»


Letta loves her job as the Wordsmith’s apprentice, giving out words to people who need them. It doesn’t strike her as odd that the people of Ark are only allowed to use a few hundred words, and words like ‘love’, ‘hope’ and ‘freedom’ are banned.

When her master disappears, Letta starts to understand that all is not well – John Noa, the ruler of Ark, is out to destroy language altogether. Letta has to find a way to stop him silencing what is left of the human race.

But she’s only a young girl, and he’s the leader of the known world …