Hyam is a likeable lad who will make a fine farmer someday. But he carries a burden few can fathom. As his mother slips toward death, she implores him to return to Long Hall, where he spent five years as an apprentice. It was there that Hyam's extraordinary capacity for mastering languages came to light--and soon cast him into the shadows of suspicion. How could any human learn the forbidden tongues with such ease? When Hyam dares to seek out the Mistress of the Sorceries, her revelation tears his world asunder.
He has no choice but to set out on the foreboding path--which beckons him to either his destiny or his doom. An encounter with an enchanting stranger reminds him that he is part hero and part captive. As Hyam struggles to interpret the omens and symbols, he is swept up by a great current of possibilities--and dangers.
With lyrical prose that unveils a richly imaginative world, Thomas Locke takes readers on a journey into the Realm. There he invites them to awaken their sense of wonder. This cracking adventure moves like a contemporary thriller but harkens back to the enduring genre of classic fantasy.
Locke (a pseudonym for Christy-winning inspirational thriller author Davis Bunn) launches the Legends of the Realm fantasy series with this competent story that owes more to the Lord of the Rings trilogy than the Bible. Hyam, a young man expelled from the wizard-run Long Hall under mysterious circumstances, finds an ancient orb that conducts a mystical force, and feels within himself "the power to transform this force, redirect it, utilize it." Hyam is joined by a woman named Joelle who had been held against her will by wizards; she escapes to become Hyam's swordbearer, protector, and love interest. They determine that the orb must be destroyed or it will be used by dark powers to rule the realm. Locke capably builds suspense but overplays the lead-up to the inevitable showdown. Even if fans of Bunn's international thrillers don't follow him over to the fantasy realm, readers of inspirational fantasy will enjoy his foray into a new genre.