By Thomas Locke
Published by Revell
372 Pages

Back Cover: 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

REVIEW: I’m thankful for the review copy of a book that sent me on a fascinating adventure into new realms and worlds. I was intrigued and hooked by the main characters Hyam and Joelle and their situations from the first paragraph. “Most people were given a new world for their twenty-first birthday. Coming of age meant celebration and a new beginning with vast horizon’s…Hyam was given one choice, which of course was not a choice at all. He was invited to walk away from everything he had ever known”….His mom’s final request was to go to Long Hall, (A place he never wanted to return to) and find Shard; tell him his wife had passed. While there Hyam discovers everything he once held to be true and dear was now flipped upside down. He’s not human but might be a Milatianm. The Milantian’s were a scattered people – there was no safe place for them – they are to be killed on sight. I really felt for Hyam – where was he to go; what to do?

I had shared what I felt about this book with the author and then asked a QUESTION, “I’ve read Emissary it was engaging. This novel  reminded me of the Lord of the Rings movies with elves, magic, and different kingdoms at war with each other. Good Wizards and bad. I had asked this author, how he came up with the idea for this novel. It reminded me some of the movie Princess Bride with the crazy things happening in the forests and The Matrix. What inspired you to write this novel? The author replies, “My first passion as a young reader was science fiction and fantasy.  When I started writing at age twenty-eight, my first mentor was Arthur C Clarke.  But it was not until two years ago that I finally felt that singular urge to turn from my 'tried and true' creative directions and take this on. Leading up to this point, I had become increasingly frustrated by the constant negative directions that both fantasy and science fiction were taking.  The hopelessness, the undead—many of these stories I devoured.  But did they all have to be tainted by this same darkness?  Was there no place any more for the same sort of heroic adventure that so thrilled me as a youngster?  Finally I decided that it was time to stop complaining and do something different.” I’m so glad he did.

This story had elements that reminded me of the Superman movie too; like when his earthly father shows him a spaceship and tells him that he is not of this world. Just like Superman  - Hyam learns he is not human but has special powers and a mission for his life. The wizards all knew a war was brewing and Hyam would be the one to lead the way. Hyam was expected to do what he had to do to protect his people. Things were getting complicated fast.

I like how the author has the reader learn about the two main characters side by side, each chapter was clearly marked so you knew who the author would be talking about. The female lead in the story is Joelle. She was confined in Long Hall for four years. This was her last year to live in this prison. They stripped everything from her when she arrived at this God forsaken place.“The only thing they let her keep from her former life was her name” She was thankful.

One way Joelle survived her prison sentence was to go on journeys. “Such journeys always came at the same moment, at night’s end, as she gradually transitioned to willfulness. There was a breath like most breaths, and then she escaped. Free from her body, from her all, from this place…once beyond the wall, she was both free and not free. Free, because she could sometimes move as she wished, entered, the forest, and dwell there until her body demanded she returned and rise and begin another dull day. Not free, because she was often taken – where she did not want to go.”

The elements of The Matrix movie were in the fact that Hyam and Joelle could go to sleep (like I just mentioned) and travel outside their bodies; see things and do things but they could never go too far, had to always return to their waiting bodies.

Emissary shows the imaginative side of this author. This novel is filled with creativity, wonderment and suspense. I look forward to the next book in this series. This would make a good book club pick and a great escape. I highly recommend it.

JANUARY 20th REVELL PUBLISHERS will be giving away 5 Copies of this book at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK 

- MARK YOUR CALENDARS go to to Enter on the 20th. I'll have a complete interview with pictures with THOMAS LOCKE.

Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
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