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.
Margaret Mahy has lived in New Zealand her entire life. A former children’s librarian, she decided to become a full-time writer in 1980. From picture books to YA novels, the age groups for which she writes vary as much as the characters in her stories. She won the British Library Association’s Carnegie medal for The Haunting and The Changeover: A Supernatural Romance. She has also written such books as Alchemy and Maddigan’s Fantasia. An author whose books have received many accolades and praise around the world, Mahy was awarded the Order of New Zealand, the highest honor a citizen of that country can receive, and in 2006 she was announced the winner of the International Board on Books for Young People’s Hans Christian Andersen Award, given to a living author whose works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature.
* “Mahy’s reputation for writing compelling fantasy is evident in this intricately woven tale . . . once begun, there may be no stopping until the reader has closed the book with a satisfied sigh.”—Library Media Connection, starred review
“Mahy has created a unique bildungsroman, complex and challenging, yet richly rewarding. This novel should prove deeply satisfying . . . Another excellent work from the masterful storyteller.”—School Library Journal
“[An] epic quest for identity . . . wrapped up in terror, romance, surprise, and suspense” --Horn Book
“A highly successful fantasy. . . . Heriot’s magic owes as much to the logic of dreams and surrealism as it does to the traditions of Tolkien and genre fantasy.” – Publishers Weekly