Where will your destiny lead you?
For as long as he can remember, Heriot Tarbas has been plagued with fits, headaches, dreams, and nightmares that make him feel as if a part of his very self is being torn away. His visions are only whispered about in his quiet life on the family farm. But when the King of Hoad hears word of his powers and seeks him out to be a member of the royal court, it becomes clear that Heriot has a gift, and a valuable one. While Heriot unwillingly learns to use his mind-reading and other abilities to serve the king as his most trusted advisor, four remarkably different lives—that of a Hero, a Magician, a noble girl, and a Prince—weave their way, for better or for worse, toward his. When their paths finally converge in the midst of political upheaval, hand-to-hand battles, and burgeoning romances, Heriot must decide how he’ll choose to use his magic—and what his destiny will be.
With a complex cast of characters set against a majestic land, award-winning author Margaret Mahy weaves her magic in a fantastical tale exploring the meaning of truth, freedom, and loyalty to one’s greater destiny.
Hans Christian Andersen Award winner Mahy serves up a highly successful fantasy concerning Heriot Tarbas, a young man subject to fits and prophetic dreams, who believed that "something ravenous was feeding on him and tearing him into two." Heriot is soon sent to the capitol to become the Magician of Hoad, serving the king by reading the minds of courtiers and diplomats and creating magical entertainments. He must also deal with the treachery of Carlyon, the Hero of Hoad (the king's ceremonial co-ruler); the eccentricities of the king's three sons, two of whom may be mad and one of whom is in love; and his own growing attachment to Cayley, a feisty gutter rat of uncertain parentage and gender. Mahy (Maddigan's Fantasia) is a master at creating odd but compelling characters and Heriot makes a fine, somewhat fey protagonist. Although Hoad is a fairly generic medieval kingdom, Heriot's magic owes as much to the logic of dreams and surrealism as it does to the traditions of Tolkien and genre fantasy. This is a lovely tale that should thoroughly please the author's many readers. Ages 14 up.