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A brand new series from an exciting new local fantasy author. A gift of life.or a curse beyond death? General Wyl Thirsk a favourite of the Morgravian sovereign swears a blood oath to protect the king's son Celimus even though he despises him. The long-held acrimony between heir and champion is deepened when Celimus contrives for Wyl to witness the barbaric torture of a young woman called Myrren. Declared a witch because of her ill-matched eyes only Thirsk takes pity on her suffering. In return for his kindness she promises him a gift. At the second of her death Wyl's eyes become ill-matched for just a moment and only a blind Seer understands the truth of The Quickening which has arrived in Wyl's life. Years later Celimus is king and finally in a position to rid himself of the man he hates. Using the cruellest blackmail he despatches Wyl together with the mysterious mercenary Romen Koreldy into the enemy realm of Briavel. The duel which ensues between Wyl and Koreldy will claim one of them but not even a true believer of sorcery could forsee the dark secret of Myrren's Gift as it emerges to begin its journey of vengeance.
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Following the tradition of his father before him, young Wyl Thirsk becomes general of the Morgravian army and sworn companion to Crown Prince Celimus, a cruel and ruthless monarch-to-be. When a dying witch gives Wyl a "gift" for his kindness to her, he discovers his destiny is he will be the only one who can save his country from destruction by its power-hungry leader. This series opener establishes McIntosh as a talented storyteller with the ability to create strong characters and a compelling plot. For most fantasy collections. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Fantasy fans will welcome Australian author McIntosh's gripping first installment in her Quickening trilogy, a tale of the eternal struggle between good and evil filled with magic, blood and jealousy. When 14-year-old Wyl Thirsk inherits the generalship of the Morgravian legions on his father's early death, he's fortunate to possess both the good habits and wise judgment that have helped the Thirsk family remain commanders of the legions for generations. These virtues will serve him well in his dealings with King Magnus of Morgravia's wayward son, Prince Celimus, whom Wyl is duty-bound to protect. After both boys achieve adulthood, the cruel Celimus orders Wyl to witness the torture and execution of a young woman, Myrren, accused of being a witch because she has mismatched eyes. Before her death, Myrren passes on to the empathetic Wyl a most unusual gift. Some readers may feel frustrated by the lack of information about Myrren or the purpose of her gift, though no doubt future volumes will fill in the gaps in an otherwise delightful and fast-moving story. Agent, Chris Lotts. (Mar. 15) Forecast: A bestseller in Australia, this fantasy faces stiffer competition in the U.S., but a blurb from Robin Hobb will give it a lift. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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