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Heriot Tarbas was born with a gift. Visions wake him in the middle of the night, and others' thoughts invade his head. Heriot's mind already feels torn apart when the King of Hoad decides to tear him away from his family.
Heriot quickly discovers that life in the royal court is much more difficult and complex than life on the farm. Being at the beck and call of a King who expects him to read friends' and foes' minds alike is no small challenge, but neither is being caught in a power struggle among three princes and an intimidating Hero of Hoad.
As Heriot hones his skills and grows into the role of the Magician of Hoad, the number of people he can trust becomes smaller. Loneliness threatens to engulf him until a chance encounter brings a street urchin named Cayley into his life. Heriot feels inexplicably drawn to Cayley, someone he sees so much of himself in, yet at times feels like he does not understand at all. But even amidst the turmoil, Heriot is certain that his ever-developing power is the key to his destiny...if only he could figure out exactly what that destiny is supposed to be.
Award-winning author Margaret Mahy conjures a faraway, majestic land where truth is an illusion, freedom is a battle, and pure magic may be the only saving grace.