Published by Hodder and Stoughton in February 2012
On a wild night in deep winter in the year 1537, the greatest magus in the world gather together and dismissed his household servants, wrapped himself in his travelling cloak, took his staff in one hand and in the other a small wooden box sealed with pitch and clasped with silver, and stepped out into the whirling sleet, bound for the harbour and - so expected - immortality.
For centuries it has been locked away Lost beneath the sea Warded from earth, air, water, fire, spirits, thought and sight. But now magic is rising to the world once more. And a boy called Gavin, who thinks only that he is a city kid with parents who hate him, and knows only that he sees things no one else will believe, is boarding a train, alone, to Cornwall. When he arrives, there is no one there to meet him.
This review is really hard to write. There were parts of this book I absolutely loved and there were parts I really struggled with. I really wanted to love this book, but perhaps I am not as comfortable with high fantasy novels as I first thought.
The story has elements of Faust, Arthurian legends and Celtic myths intertwined within it, creating an epic fantasy. I almost felt like I was missing out on a exquisite tale, with my lack of knowledge of these areas. True fantasy lovers will enjoy immersing themselves in the story and finding all the snippets and links.
I loved the language of the book, but struggled with the author's complex writing style.This book is very cleverly written, but to be honest I found it went beyond my level of understanding. For the first hundred pages I was slightly baffled. I struggled to understand and work out what was going on and found myself rereading passages to make sure I hadn't missed a subtle sign. I felt there was a lot of ambiguity to begin with and everything was open to personal interpretation. Now I can understand that the author wanted to keep us on our toes, but I would have liked a little more information to be divulged earlier in the story.
As the story progressed, everything became a lot clearer and the story really picked up the pace in the second half. Once everything was explained, I understand the story much more and could see where it was going.
The prose is poetic and flows beautifully. The author is definitely a wordsmith at heart. The landscape and descriptions bowled me over. Pendurra and Cornwall are brought to life with clarity and vision.
There are a lot of additional characters in the book, that seemed to appear and disappear throughout the story. I was glad to see the reappearance of certain characters later in the book, whom I had enjoyed reading about in the first half. I loved Corbo. I don't think I was meant to, but he really did try to go against the instructions he had been given. Gavin was very brave and stood firmly against everything that was thrown at him.
I think if you are a lover of high fantasy you will have no trouble absorbing this book. This book is not to be rushed; very much like an expensive wine needing love and appreciation by a wine connoisseur.