Author: Thomas Locke
Series: Legends of the Realm #1
Release Date: January 2015
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
A thrilling new journey in the realm of fantasy and science fiction. Filled with action, romance, and subtle humor, this is the beginning of a promising new series.
Hyam is a young man who just lost his mother. Her dying request is that he return to the Long Hall where he spent five years as an acolyte apprenticing in the languages of the Milantian, Elven, and Ashantan, of which he mastered all. Actually, he mastered Milantian, the others were beaten into him. However, it is said that only true Milantian’s can speak their language and they carry a death sentence for past crimes of domination. After speaking with the Mistress of the Long Hall, Hyam returns to his fields for planting when he finds that he may have a bit of magic in him. When he sticks the spade in the earth, the entire row is suddenly opened for seed. When a group of knights see this, they declare to kill him and burn his village. Hyam uses the newly acquired power to open the earth and swallow the group of knights. This one act leads Hyam on a quest which uncovers many old beliefs to be untrue and he might just be the one to save The Realm.
Joelle is the product of a forbidden marriage between a human and an Ashanta. She is exiled with her parents, who both succumb to a fever when she is very young. A year later she too is affected by the fever and the Ashanta heal her to the point of survival and then bring her to a Long Hall. Her sentence is to spend the remainder of her years at the Long Hall as a prisoner. If she leaves, the Ashanta have vowed to kill her. If she stays, the Mage’s will most likely kill her. So, after four years of secretly practicing spells, she plans her escape. She schemes to make her way to freedom; if she dies in the process, so be it. But one night her path crosses with Hyam and the course of the world could be changed forever.
When I read the synopsis of this book, I thought that it sounded interesting. Then I got the book and saw that Thomas Locke is a pseudonym for Davis Bunn. I had just read The Patmos Deception by Bunn and while it was a good story, I was not completely enthralled with it as I felt that there were several holes throughout. Needless to say, I was worried that this book would be of the same substance. I am happy to say that everything I thought was lacking from The Patmos Deception was adequately covered in Emissary.
The characters really came to life in this story, which is really interesting because neither of the main characters really have a back story. Hyam doesn’t know his heritage and although we know Joelle’s, she has mainly been imprisoned in some form or fashion. The supporting characters throughout the story really complete it though. The mage Trace, the earl, Adler, Meda, Gimmitt and even the villains are portrayed perfectly. Each character really brings a unique quality and fits into the story quite well.
Bunn is very descriptive with describing all the different areas of The Realm. I was able to no longer read about the Elven Kingdom and the Ashanta cities and start walking through them. This is a rare quality that only a handful of authors possess. Throughout this book I actually lived the story and didn’t just read about it.
There is an e-book short that is called The Captive that is basically the story of Joelle up to the point that she is liberated by Hyam. All of the content is already in Emissary so you don’t have to read the short in order to get more of the story. Even so, it is still a good standalone short if you are interested in Joelle.
This was a great book to close out the 2014 year. I am eagerly anticipating book two, which unfortunately will not be released until 2016.