Illustrator: Bob Kehl
Series: Kingdom of Denall #1
Also in this series:The Secrets at the Keep, The Changing
Also by this author: The Secrets at the Keep, The Changing
Release Date: May 16, 2016
Publisher: Dragon Scale Publishing
Format: ARC, E-book
Source: Dragon Scale Publishing, Publisher
Purchase at: Amazon
For centuries, young men in their eighteenth year have been sent away from the small village of Dungan for a year-long exile as they begin their journey into manhood. This traditional exile, the Troven, was instituted so that young men may find themselves, find their purpose, and find their place in the world. When Kaz Kinsley and his three friends leave to begin their Troven, all they have on their minds is getting to the first sign of civilization and finding a way to survive on their own. Fate has more in mind for these young men, though. Stone Seekers are on the move, sent by the evil sorcerer Mordyar to find six magical stones, each with the power to enhance one of six gifts every person in Denall is born with. When Kaz unknowingly comes into possession of the Sight Stone, he and his friends become part of the story of the Stones of Power, and their Troven suddenly becomes something much more.
I did not know what to expect with this book. The synopsis was intriguing to me, a traditional exile for young men in their eighteenth year, what? What I did not expect was that this book is a believable tale that is captivating, filled with adventure, and a real page-turner. I truly was pulled into this story and the way the characters are written gave such life to the story that I got choked up on more than one occasion.
“Your eighteenth summer is upon you, and your Troven will begin soon. You’ll need your sharp eyes, your fast hands, and your keen wits.”
In the kingdom of Denall, in the Western Realm, the village of Dungan is where this story begins. Kaz Kinsley and his friends Farin, Garin, and Bendar are preparing themselves for their Troven. The Troven is a tradition completed by all males that reach the age of eighteen. They leave their home and are “exiled” from their village for a period of four seasons. The Troven is done in memory of the founder of the village, Dungan, who left everything behind and set off with his new bride to seek out a place of his own. The tradition is symbolic of his journey into manhood. When I say exiled I mean it. The boys leave with nothing but parting gifts and have to make their way in the world, and not all boys return.
In this world there are people that have exceptional skills either of listening, strength, knowledge, intellect, tracking, and sight. Ancient sorcerers had gifted these abilities to mortals. In addition there are six magical stones called the Stones of Power that are connected with one of the special abilities. Over two hundred years ago six magicians to whom the stones had been entrusted were sent out to distribute these stones to the mortals that the stones seemed to choose. These mortals became known as Stone Holders. The stones have been in hiding since then and the magicians had disappeared.
“What is the sworn duty of a stone seeker?” “A stone seeker will scour the world in search of the Stones of Power,”
The stones are now hunted by a cult that serves the sorcerer Mordyar. I am referring to it as a cult not the author. These worshippers go through a ritual to gain the sight to see magical items to better help them search but this skill comes with a price. The people are known as the stone seekers, think of bloodhounds that seek magical items. Their main goal is to recover the Stones of Power from the Stone Holders because the only thing that can stop Mordyar from taking over is the Stones of Power.
“Do you think The Changing is happening?” Bendar had an interest in almost all academic pursuits, but he had been especially fond of reading prophesies about the end of the world.
There is an ancient prophecy known as The Changing that involves rising tensions between lands, invasions, weather patterns changing and typical end of world predictions. The stones themselves are an integral part to the prophecy. It states that the stones will gather, and the gathering will shake the earth. There is speculation that the end is near and the stone seekers have been gathering in large groups, typically there is only a couple seekers together, to seek out all the stone holders. This behavior change has forced Dune, a magician and stone holder, to follow the seekers in order to determine what information they have.
These three factions make up the bulk of the story but there are many layers. There is a Baron competing in a tournament to prove his worth, as well as other main characters. There are a group of bandits that perform a gold heist only for the mysterious mastermind to be double-crossed by her own father but that is not where the story ends. A caravan of folk brought together various ways that are traveling the countryside. Never a dull moment in this book.
For some they might feel like the multiple characters and points of view would be challenging to follow but I promise you that it is not. The character stories are so well woven that you never get lost. For me this is a gem of a book and I am looking forward to the continuation of this tale.
*Thank you to Dragon Scale Publishing for this digital copy of The Troven*