Emissary, by Thomas Locke (Revell, 2014)
Hyam is an honest and unremarkable farmer in a world where magic is only permitted within the confines of Long Halls: places of training for wizards. He was a Long Hall acolyte for a time, until the wizards threw him out. Not that he wanted to stay. To be an acolyte was much like being a prisoner.
Now, as Hyam reaches his coming-of-age birthday (21), his mother’s deathbed request sends him back to the Long Hall with a message. The unwelcome news he receives there, plus the sudden onset of what seems to be magical ability, thrusts him from his home and into a life of adventure.
Emissary is mainstream fantasy fiction, in the classic reluctant hero’s journey style. It’s been called epic, but I wouldn’t go that far. It’s a fun read with plenty of action and struggle, enjoyable characters and a well-developed world and magic system, but epic fantasy has a weight to it. Emissary, for all the great danger Hyam faces, is a lighter read.
The dangers are huge and at times spectacular, but he always comes through them with ease – even when survival looks impossible at first. [I’m excluding the ending from this comment, because I don’t want to give any spoilers. Perhaps they all die. You’ll have to read the book to find out!]
Thomas Locke is a pseudonym for Davis Bunn, a well-known, award-winning novelist. I understand the choice to use a pen name for this series. It’s an entirely different genre (fantasy instead of suspense) and it’s also a clean mainstream story instead of Davis Bunn’s overtly Christian novels. This way, readers know not to have the same expectations they’d have of his other work.
If you want to know more about Emissary, there’s a free ebook excerpt called The Captive available through the author’s site: The Captive. This may be only available in Kindle format. It’s Joelle’s story (she’s one of the key characters in Emissary). There’s also a book trailer for Emissary and a sample chapter on the Thomas Locke website.
Emissary is book 1 in the Legends of the Realm series, and book 2 is scheduled to release in 2016. Also to come from Thomas Locke is Trial Run, book 1 in the Fault Lines series. This one looks more like science fiction from the brief description at the end of Emissary, and I’m eager to learn more about it.