Friday, January 29, 2016

Thomas Locke's "Merchant of Alyss" - the saga continues . . .

Cover ArtIn the second Legends of the Realm book, Hyam is still recovering from the loss of his magic, when a shipment of ancient scrolls finds its way to Falmouth Port. Touched by strange dreams of mythical beasts, Hyam, his wife, and friends set out on a quest to learn more about the scrolls' mysterious reappearance in the world, little expecting the danger, wonder, and loss awaiting them.

The nice thing about fantasy is the room for creativity, the unpredictability. From one chapter to another it's hard to guess where the quest will lead and what secrets will be unveiled along the way. I like how this book flows from the first--intimately connected, yet fresh and different.

Though by a Christian author, I would not call this Christian fiction, not if you are looking for a strong, scriptural message, references to Christianity, or talk of God. It isn't even allegorical (leastwise that I can tell, and for which I am grateful). However, it is a clean fantasy that places heavy value on upholding covenants, truth, sacrifice, and hope--values that are too often neglected today.

I liked what Shona is told when she faces temptation: "In life's harshest moments, the only correct action is often the impossible one" (257) --namely, sacrificing desires of the self and choosing instead what is best for others. Saying 'no' to what the flesh wants can feel impossible, but so often it is ultimately what is right.

The books in this series are definitely not meant to be read alone. Let me assure you, the quest is not over, nor the battle won--but there is hope. When the third book comes out, I think it will solidify the series as sound, high fantasy literature.

Thank you Revell for providing a free book in exchange for a review; I was not required to make the review positive, and all opinions are my own.

Legends of the Realm
1. Emissary
2. Merchant of Alyss
3. (Winter 2017?)

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