Emissary / Thomas Locke. (Legends of the Realm, 1) 12.17.2015

Revell ISBN 9780800723859

Adult (HS) Rating: 3

Thomas Locke–a pseudonym for Christian author Davis Bunn–pens a fantasy series for adults featuring a reluctant hero on a journey to discover his destiny and use his special abilities in the fight against evil.

In Emissary, twenty-one-year-old Hyam has a gift for mastering languages, even ones not spoken in recent history. As his mother lies dying, she begs him to return to Long Hall where he studied as a child. A revelation from the Mistress of Long Hall reveals the truth about his parentage and starts him off on his journey, earning him an appointment as emissary to the Ashanta people. Hyam discovers his powers are feared and misunderstood by others, yet they are vital to the outcome of the upcoming war.

Locke creates the Realm–a fantasy world for Hyam’s story–where good and evil face off while unusual creatures fill adventures along the way. Like most epic fantasies, the story features an orphaned (and reluctant) hero who must face inner demons to undertake a dangerous quest. In Hyam’s case, he discovers that he has magical powers he must learn to control.

Although Emissary excels in its plot development and world-building, the book starts out slowly. The reader’s interest isn’t fully engaged until about halfway into the book. There is no evidence of a Christian theme in the book, except in the eternal fight between good and evil. Elves, wizards, magic, and strange creatures abound in Emissary, making it more fantasy than inspirational fantasy or Christian allegory.

Recommended for adult collections in public libraries, and for fantasy fans of Patrick Carr and Jill Williamson. Look for the sequel, Merchant of Alyss coming in Spring 2016.

Carol R. Gehringer, CLJ