The Innocent Mage
Kingmaker, Kingbreaker #1
By Karen Miller
Enter the kingdom of Lur, where magic is wielded by few and others are imprisoned if they dare try. The Doranen have ruled Lur with magic since they arrived centuries ago after fleeing Morg, the mage who started a war in their homeland.
To keep their lands safe the Olken – Lur’s original inhabitants – are forbidden to use magic. Any Olken who breaks the law will be executed. Gar has come to Lur’s capital city to make his fortune. He finds himself working in the royal stables and in time becomes a mediator between the Olken and the Doranen. Soon, he will have enough money to return home and set up his own fishing fleet.
But there is unrest among the Olken. It has been prophesied that the Innocent Mage will be born, and the Circle is dedicated to preserving the magic of the Olken until the saviour arrives. The Circle have been watching Gar, and as the city streets are filled with Olken rioters, his life takes a new turn…
Ms Miller weaves a delightful tale, bringing a distinct style, flare and sense of drama to her first fantasy novel.
In the Kingdom of Lur the Doranen, an elegant, magic-wielding race have brought an age of peace and harmony to the native inhabitants, the Olken. But while they use their gifts and more advanced society to rule for the benefit of both the simpler Olken and themselves, the Doranen hide in their history a dark secret. The kingdom they left behind was devastated by a war of black magic’s and the survivors, who have taken refuge in Lur, seek to forget the legacy of the evil mage Morg that stains them. In an effort to protect themselves and the Olken, the ancient Doranen constructed a wall of glistening magic and light, cutting off all access to the outside world and the horrors they left behind. In return for the protection of their kingdom, the Olken have abandoned their own traditions of magic; but the Olken have secrets of their own.
A secret society known only as ‘the Circle’ holds safe the forgotten Olken magic, and a prophecy awaits the coming of the one called the Innocent Mage; destined to save their world from destruction if he retains his innocence, or to herald its doom if he falls.
From the sweeping vistas of Restharven Harbour, the tale unfolds as a young man, Asher, leaves home in search of his fortune, only to find himself saving a prince and taking a position in the royal stables. This is traditional fantasy at its best as Miller masterfully weaves Asher’s struggle with his own self worth, and his practical nature against the demands of prophecy and magic. While Asher rises to fame and fortune, the Circle watch him from the sidelines.
Abounding with vivid characterisations and contemporary dilemmas, Miller adds a strong human touch that is lacking in many books of more standard fantasy fare, while marrying the tale to a forward-moving plot with a momentum that carries the reader into the small hours of the morning as they find themselves having to read ‘just one more chapter’. (I write from experience!)
Miller’s debut is a blockbuster story crafted with a strong sense of wonder and told with whimsical charm. I have no doubt that all readers will be left wanting more when Book One reaches its astounding conclusion.