In a battle that goes horribly wrong, Keling of Panggau Libau is severely wounded. Thus, his soul leaves his body. His wife, Kumang, takes a desperate measure to forcibly return his soul to the realm of the living, despite the warning that there will be repercussions for such action.
As soon as Keling’s family can detect a petara living on the land, they start their mission to bring him home. The supposedly easy task becomes complicated when they detect two petara on the land, and they cannot tell which petara is Keling based on their physical appearances. With Keling losing his memory of the past, they need to find another way to identify him.
As if their task is not difficult enough, one of the petara sets himself to be the prey of a remaung, a deadly spiritual creature of the forest.
The Quest for the Petara is the fourth book of The Return of Panggau Warriors, a series of fantasy novels that depicts the world of Borneo rainforest according to Iban mythology.
The Return of Panggau Warriors Series was written with one main objective: to introduce the long forgotten traditional Iban cultural heritage to the readers worldwide.
There was a time when the Panggau Warriors, the Iban’s cultural heroes, were inseparable from the life of the Ibans, one of the indigenous groups in Sarawak, Borneo. The shift from traditional to modern life style has reduced their roles, and any other beliefs related to them, from being practiced daily to being kept in library archives.
The archives, quite comprehensive and well-recorded, are not the ideal source of distribution of this knowledge to the general public. The archives are intended only for a small group of readers. For instance: many of these documents were written in the old Iban language, so those who do not know the old language cannot understand them; or they were written by academic researchers and published in academic journals, so those who are not academicians have no reason to read them; or they were kept in the library’s restricted section, so the general public do not have access to them.
The writer of the Series, Oktavia Nurtjahja, is determined to widen the scope of the readers. Therefore, she goes to various library archives, get hold of the old Iban language records and research journals to collect the information. Then, she rewrites her findings in a completely new format - one that she feels is more accessible to the general readers. The products come out in the form of fantasy novels in English language that tell new stories about the Panggau Warriors, who still hold on to their traditional beliefs and values, and how they live at the present time to deal with the environmental issues in Borneo island.
It is her goal that this new way of distributing knowledge gains wider acceptance among the general readers so that the invaluable Iban cultural heritage will be kept alive in the memories of the present generation and the generations to come.
Oktavia Nurtjahja first went to Borneo island in 2001 to work in Sarawak, where she got to know the people of the land and the rainforest. She met and married Keling, who introduced her to the world of Iban tradition, mythology, and legends.
Growing up in a multicultural country like Indonesia, she has always been fascinated by the various local myths, folklore and legends. And as her work as an English lecturer at one of the universities in Sarawak required her to access library archives, the Borneo Studies section soon became her new favorite site to visit.
She is now a stay-at-home mom, known by many as Indai Sampurai, or mother of Sampurai.