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The Farfield Curse (Bran Hambric Series #1)

The Farfield Curse (Bran Hambric Series #1)

4.7 111
by Kaleb Nation, Brandon Dorman (Illustrator)

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The Farfield Curse brims with mystery, magic, and fun. Kaleb Nation's wry sense of humor kept me smiling, even while the mystical sparks flew.
Get ready for lots of surprises and watch out for gnomes!
D.J. MacHale, Author of the Pendragon Series

In a bustling metropolis where magic is outlawed, a six-year-old child is found inside a locked bank


The Farfield Curse brims with mystery, magic, and fun. Kaleb Nation's wry sense of humor kept me smiling, even while the mystical sparks flew.
Get ready for lots of surprises and watch out for gnomes!
D.J. MacHale, Author of the Pendragon Series

In a bustling metropolis where magic is outlawed, a six-year-old child is found inside a locked bank vault. A scrap of paper reveals his name: Bran Hambric. The child remembers nothing of his life before the vault. Only magic could have done this. But why would any mage risk breaking the law to place a child in a bank vault?

Eight years later the City of Dunce has forgotten about Bran. Even his foster parents don't seem to know he exists. But there are those who have been watching, biding their time, waiting to strike, people who know where Bran came from and why he was sent away. And they will do anything to get Bran back, dead or alive...

Welcome to a world unlike any other where the adventure of a lifetime is just beginning.

Getting to know Kaleb Nation:

Sourcebooks: How did the idea for the story of Bran Hambric first come to you?
Kaleb Nation: I was fourteen and lying in bed, staring at the ceiling and thinking of an entirely different story I was working on (I was homeschooled and my mom gave me lots of creative writing assignments). Suddenly, out of nowhere, I imagined a boy and a banker waiting on a rooftop for a burglar. For some reason, the image struck me, so that I almost immediately knew the background: this boy had been left behind years before, the burglar was coming for him, and the city outlawed magic. I also knew that it was a fantasy world but in a modernsetting.
I immediately got up and wrote down a few pages of notes so I wouldn't forget, and also wrote in my journal in the dark that I'd finally had "the idea." The date was 3/3/03. The time was 9:55 p.m.

SB: You're currently a college student, living in Dallas, Texas. Where are you from?
KN: I was born and lived in Round Rock, Texas, until 2003. I started writing the book here, and can remember the house and location perfectly. The surroundings were influential to certain locations in the book. Also, the Round Rock Public Library was a huge influence. In 2003, we moved to Bastrop, Texas, where I finished the novel and signed with my agent and publisher.

SB: Besides being a college student and first-time author, what are your other hobbies?
KN: I blog regularly at KalebNation.com, and I run TwilightGuy.com, a site revolving around the Twilight book series, which receives about 10,000 hits per day.

I also have my own YouTube channel (youtube.com/kalebnation) where I create video blogs and content for about 22,000 subscribers. I also enjoy making music with my computer, mainly instrumental and soundtrack scores. I have composed a soundtrack for the novel (you can hear many of the tracks at http://www.kalebnation.com/music). This has received a lot of attention, with over 20,000 plays on YouTube. I have plans to offer the soundtrack for free download to promote the novel.

SB: When people ask you what Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse is about, what do you tell them?
KN: Bran Hambric was found locked in a bank vault at six years old, with no memory of his past. For years, he has lived with one of the bankers, wondering why he was left behind—until one night, when he is fourteen, he is suddenly confronted by a maddened creature, speaking of Bran's true past and trying to kidnap him. Bran finds that he is at the center of a plot that started years before he was even born: the plot of a deadly curse his mother created...and one that her former masters are hunting for him to complete. Haunted by the spirit of his mother's master and living in a city where magic is illegal, Bran must undo the crimes of his past, before it is too late.

SB: How long did it take you to write Bran Hambric?
KN: The first novel took most of my teenage years to complete—about six years.

SB: Did the book entail any unusual writing habits or places?
KN: I originally wrote almost five hundred pages of the book in six to nine months, which is the fastest I've ever done, just to get it all out. Then, I spent the next four years completely rewriting the book multiple times until I was able to bring the story out correctly. This turned into two boxes and two drawers full of papers, forming The Farfield Curse and notes for five sequels. Many of the street names in the book came from a graveyard we passed when I was fifteen (I quickly wrote down as many names as I could from the car).

In the beginning, I would write chapters of the book on my tiny monochrome Palm Pilot while taking care of my baby brother during naps. Palm Pilot typing, I will note, is very, very slow. I once had an idea in the grocery store (I can remember specifically which store) where I had no paper, and had to outline the scene on a spare grocery bag. I still have the bag, and the scene is still in the book.

SB: In discussing your book with friends, what have they found most intriguing?
KN: The biggest grab I've found is the "magic crime" aspect, which I don't feel has been explored much in other books. The idea that Bran's parents were criminals, and even more so of magic, seems to grip interest. People also seem to enjoy that it is in another world yet very similar in ways to our own.

SB: Are there any lessons to be learned from your book?
KN: I think my book tells the power of choice: Bran's mother chose to sacrifice any good within her for great power. Bran, however, chooses a different path, despite being predisposed to it by his own mother. A theme of "choice" and how our choices affect others runs throughout many parts of the book.

SB: How do you think your story might influence other kids who like to write and/or want to write a book?
KN: My dream as a young teenager was to become published. Through these years, I idolized other authors, watching every documentary or video of a book signing I could find on YouTube. Somehow, after years of writing and rewriting, everything worked out in the end. I have received countless letters from teens and even adults saying my journey has influenced them to start writing, which is really the biggest payoff of everything. Even though the journey started off rough in the beginning, with a lot of effort, it all worked out in the end, and I'm finally getting to live my dream. I think my story can help other kids realize that their dream of becoming a writer can come true, if they're willing to work hard for it.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
""...the author tucks in promisingly clever touches (magical power is measured in 'witts,' and weak mages are dubbed 'dimwitts') and has a knack for crafting violent, quickly paced chases and fights." -Kirkus" - Kirkus
A six-year-old child, his only history a scrap of paper with his name (Bran Hambric), is found inside a securely locked vault in a large city bank. He grows into a strapping teenager, remembering nothing before the vault, mostly forgotten even by his foster parents. But elsewhere, Bran is not only remembered; he is sought by those who want him back. dead or alive…
Publishers Weekly
Newcomer Nation makes his debut with this whimsical addition to the “magical orphan” genre, starring the eponymous Bran Hambric, found at age six inside a locked bank vault in the magic-hating city of Dunce. Raised by the banker who found him, Bran leads a normal life until he’s almost 14, at which point a series of events turn his existence upside down. At times quirky, at other times absurd, this story’s similarities to Harry Potter (the discovery of magical abilities, the dark overlord opponent who seeks to transcend death, the “normal” but neglectful adoptive family that raises the hero) leave it hovering between entertaining and derivative. The idea of a city that outlaws magic, in a world filled with gnomes and mages, is a concept that’s filled with potential. However, it suffers from a cutesy tone (though there are some dark moments) and supporting characters whose roles as comic relief border on parody. While it may appeal to those at the younger end of its target audience, more mature readers are less likely to be drawn into the story. Ages 9–12. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Bran Hambric is a foundling, left in a bank vault and taken in by Sewey and Mabel Wilomas, who live in the town of Dunce. In an effort to preserve the decency of the community, the town has banned even the mere mention of magic. During a harrowing accident involving a truck at the Duncelander Fair, Bran discovers that he is a mage. He also has to face the difficult truth that his mother was a mage as well as a criminal, in league with an underground group with a rather gruesome plan to overthrow the Mages Council. Bran discovers that people are trying to find him so that they can use him to help finish the job she started. This book is a clear reflection of the influence of the "Harry Potter" books on a new generation of writers. Sadly, the author's attempts at creative language and original ideas come across as silly. Nation creates a contemporary world that is a tool for social satire, but that feels flat and uninteresting. Beyond quirks of dialogue, he gives no real sense of who the characters really are, so it is difficult to have any empathy when they are injured or appear to have died.—Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO
Kirkus Reviews
Yet another journeyman fantasy composed by a teenage author. Wavering back and forth between labored farce and conventional bildungsroman, Nation's debut casts 14-year-old Bran as a parentless lad ignorant of his vast magical gifts being raised by the Dursleys-er, a caricatured unmagical family-who treat him like a servant. Having been attacked by a crazed stranger, followed by a mysterious black van and led to a hidden library of magic textbooks, Bran comes to realize that all is not as it seems in the magic-hating town of Dunce. As it turns out, he is a horcrux-er, repository-for the spirit of Voldemort-er, Baslyn-an incompletely dead dark magician. Though still an amateur wordsmith ("His teeth were tightened together, feeling angry and betrayed . . . ") the author tucks in promisingly clever touches (magical power is measured in "witts," and weak mages are dubbed "dimwitts") and has a knack for crafting violent, quickly paced chases and fights. He doesn't lack for ambition either, with a soundtrack already composed and notes for five sequels in the hopper. That ambition outstrips his skill; look for better work down the line. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Product Details

Publication date:
Bran Hambric Series , #1
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 8.18(h) x 1.44(d)
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Hanging outside the gates of the city of Dunce was a sign that read:

no gnomes

no mages


And if you didn't agree, you had best like jail food. Every other city in the rest of the world allowed gnomes and magic, but for centuries the Duncelanders had proudly stayed the exception. Behind their border wall of brick, the police chief put officers on perpetual watch for any short gnomes wearing tall, conical red hats. Helicopters regularly patrolled the borders, and every good citizen was quick to report anything remotely magic, in case a mage was around. They had orders to report any etceteras as well, if they happened to see one.

Since few people came into Dunce, and even fewer left, rumors about the city grew every year. This notoriety gave birth to streets nearly as infamous - and Bolton Road seemed destined to be the most infamous of them all.

In the thirteenth house on the right side of that street, at eleven o'clock on a Wednesday night, eight-year-old Balder Wilomas dashed into his parents' bedroom, claiming he had heard a burglar struggling with the front door. Sewey Wilomas sent him right back to bed with no more scary movies for a week. Five minutes later, in came Baldretta, Balder's three-year-old sister, having heard someone at the door too. Sewey sent her back as well, with a bag of chocolates to munch until morning. All this was, of course, until he heard the noise a minute later and barreled downstairs, revolver in hand, only to find scratches on the door and some dirty tracks.

"Burglars…" he muttered. "And I'm plumb out of Burglar-Be-Gone spray too." He turned to the others, standing at the stairs. Mabel: his wife. Rosie Tuttle: Mabel's cousin, who did the housework and cooking. Balder and Baldretta: his two children. And Bran - the Wilomas' great Accident.

"He'll be coming back," Sewey added. "And being a banker, I learned exactly what to do."

"Call the police?" Bran suggested.

"No scary movies for a week?" Balder mused.

"Mmbbl?" Baldretta managed to say, offering one of the few candies not stuffing her cheeks.

"No!" Sewey spat. "Bran and I are going to catch this burglar."

"I think I'd rather catch some sleep," Bran said with a yawn. But inside he felt that watching for a burglar was far better than just another boring evening - one of many he had spent since that fateful morning eight years before.

• *

The Great and Glorious City Of Dunce, as was its official title, was like an overgrown blot on the map. It covered miles of suburban land so vast that many wondered if it was no longer a city, but rather a small state of its own. If Dunce was a blot on the map, then Bran was a blot on the city of Dunce - the Accident that shouldn't have happened. As if to prove this time and again, there was a driftwood sign tacked next to the front door of the Wilomas' red-brick, two-story house that read:

The Wilomas Family





But that was all. After eight years, Bran's name was still no­where to be found. Eight o'clock on Thursday night found Sewey and Bran on the roof of the house: Sewey with his revolver and Bran with a cigar box of bullets. The air was frigid, and the roof was so steep Bran had to hold to the chimney for balance. Sewey had thoughtfully brought up two pork and mustard sandwiches, in case he got hungry, and had quickly gobbled both down without offering Bran a bite.
One hour passed. Another hour passed. No burglar.

"Keep very quiet," Sewey warned around ten thirty. "I took Burglar Methodology and Tactics in banker school: he'll be coming at precisely ten forty-five!"

Eleven eventually rolled about, and then eleven thirty. Sewey's mood worsened. By midnight, he was so fed up that he climbed down the ladder and returned with a briefcase of paperwork to go over.

"Cold, cold, cold!" Sewey shivered. "Am I the only one in town who cares about this burglar?"

"It's past midnight." Bran yawned. "Maybe the burglar is where we should be: in bed."

"Great rot, Bran," Sewey grumbled. "Every scarecrow who's gotten past Basic Burglarology knows they're never satisfied with scratching a door and leaving dirty tracks. Mark my words, he's coming back tonight." He shifted. "Now hold that flashlight still; your shivering is making me write crooked."

For the hundredth time that night, Bran sighed and lifted his arm, which was falling asleep without him. To Bran, dirt on the ground and scratches on the door did not spell burglar.

"Aha!" Sewey exclaimed, pushing against the chimney.

Sewey hardly ever smiled, and he hardly ever laughed either. More commonly he wore a frown resembling an upside-down banana plastered on his face. His hair and moustache were dark, and though he wasn't fat, he had gained a little weight since he was younger, which perfectly complimented his balding scalp and general grumpiness.

"File this under Evictions," he muttered to Bran. "Old Widow Todilmay won't get past this banker!"

Bran set it in the stack marked Evictions without a word. Bran himself wasn't very tall, but he topped Sewey's shoulders at fourteen years old, and had dark brown hair and eyes of the same color. There wasn't much out of the ordinary about him. He was just plain, normal Bran. Except of course, for how he ended up on Bolton Road.

Helping Sewey with his paperwork was a constant, nagging reminder of the Accident, of the whispers Bran often overheard when Sewey called him to the bank for one chore or another: "There we were, all closed up, the vault locked tight, the next day Sewey gets here early and checks the vault like always… and there he is. A six-year-old boy. Just sitting there in the middle of the floor. Nothing stolen, nothing even moved. And the worst part is the Finders Keepers Law regarding Orphans. That's why Sewey calls it the Accident. According to the Laws of Dunce, because Sewey found the boy, Bran is his 'forever or until the End of Time, whichever comes later...'"

The strangest part always came after. "And the note," they would whisper. "It was tight in the boy's hand, and the only thing it said was 'Bran Hambric, born June 17. To: Clarence'."

But no one knew more. Sometimes, in tones so hushed that Bran had to strain his ears, he often heard another word - never shared with Sewey, but offered as the only possible explanation.


"Pay attention!" Sewey snapped, breaking Bran out of his thoughts. Bran counted the papers in Evictions, but when he got to three hundred he decided to give up on the rest. They sat on the chimney beside other piles, some marked Overdue, others Dangerously Overdue, and still others Very Dangerously Overdue.

It wasn't like Bran was the only strange thing that had hap­pened on Bolton Road. Just that Tuesday, a dozen red roses had been delivered to their door, addressed to Rosie Tuttle, with strict instructions addressing them to Rosie and Rosie alone. The card was signed with an enormous, swirling letter B, and the instant Rosie set eyes on it she tore it to pieces and threw it away, and would say nothing about it to anyone.

Instead of minding his own beeswax, Sewey Wilomas had de­cided to piece the torn shreds together like a puzzle with staples and sticky tape. When he finally got them in order, he caused such a terrible ruckus with every Bob, Binkey, and Balfred in town that the neighbors had called the police, who carted him off for a day's worth of scrubbing the sewers. Unfortunately for Bran, community service hadn't phased Sewey in the slightest.

"Overdue payment on the Bogwingle's..." Sewey mumbled on, scribbling ONE DAY LATE in bright red.

"Another one for Evictions," he said, passing it to Bran.


Meet the Author

On the third night of the third month in 2003, fourteen-year-old Kaleb Nation suddenly imagined a boy and a banker on a roof, waiting for a burglar to come. From that original idea was born the story of Bran Hambric, a novel that would take most of Kaleb’s teenage years to write.
Aside from writing, Kaleb is a blogger and former radio host. He turned twenty in 2008 and currently lives in Texas.

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Farfield Curse 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 111 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really really really good. It was well written and very exciting. I can't wait to read the next one!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so fun to read. I never wanted to put it down when I read it. This book is a good read and I would recommend for 5-9 grades.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Farfield Curse is very magical and well written. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read the first one and i am DYING to read the second one 5 stars all the way! Bran hambric is action packed and filled with magic and adventure
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Bran Hambric soooo Much I wonder if Kaleb is going to make a 3rd one...
Celeste Tapia More than 1 year ago
I have not read this book, but it sounds good. Help!! ( you can watch Kaleb Nation on You Tube.)
BellaLien13 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much. It reminded me of harry potter in a way. Although it was completly different from any other book I have read. I loved the characters of the book, they always kept me laughing. The dialouge between characters was genious. I can't wait for the next book of the series to come out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bran Hambric written by Kaleb Nation is by far the best book I've ever read. The twists and turns and the funny imagination of the writer is just truely amazing and it fills our imagination with a new perspective. I highly reccomend this book if you're interested in fantasy and magic.
Galleysmith More than 1 year ago
Nation has constructed an interesting and imaginative world in Bran Hambric. It's Potter-esque lore of magic and mysticism is likely to enthrall the most reluctant of middle-grade and young adult aged readers. Where it falls a bit short, however, is segueing into the audience of adult readers which I whole-heartedly recognize is not it's purpose or goal. While the vivid imagery and creative characterizations make great strides in that direction the slower story-telling made it difficult to grab hold and really stay invested in the outcome. This is exemplified most in the heavy focus on the character of Sewey. A healthy amount of time was spent showcasing his curmudgeonly and grumpy nature - a point that was made several chapters in and would have sufficed. Moreover, what made this aspect more difficult to deal with was the fact that his constant presence didn't do much to further the main plot. Ultimately I struggled with the fact that this focus was time that could have been spent developing far more critical characters. In my humble opinion, a great place to focus some of that attention would have been in further developing Emry. Now, I caveat this by saying that the lack of true depth of focus on Emry may have been designed to keep the mystery of her involvement in the Farfield Curse alive..but, still there could have been more focus on her in a historical perspective so that the ultimate reveal at the end of the story was more powerful. The same holds true of characters involved in the Farfield aspect of the plot - more on Elspeth, Joris and other critical characters to the story of the Curse and it's role in Bran's life may have provided the reader more investment in the story earlier on. Speaking of the curse it took us over 2/3 of the book to really get deeper into that part of the story. This was a shame since it was the best and most thought provoking part of the novel. It is here that Nation found his stride as he revealed secrets long held back and allowed the reader to see how character's lives were truly intertwined. There were unexpected connections and surprising revelations that finally gave the reader that 'can't put it down' page turner aspect they longed for. It is in the chapters where Bran is in Farfield that the most compelling and enjoyable parts of the story are provided. Furthermore, Nation did an excellent job of making the mystery mysterious, I did not find myself predicting what was going to happen. The foreshadowing was subtle and kept the doors open for events to happen any number of ways. I appreciated that I wasn't lead through the story with my hand held the entire time. Nation's Bran Hambric series has enormous potential and despite what I personally found to be hurdles I can see the appeal of this book for it's target audience. I would certainly recommend this first book to middle graders and younger skewing young adults. Further, given the writing and plotting of the last 1/3 of this book I too am interested to see if the next book in Bran's story picks up where Nation found his stride in Farfield Curse.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Spooky, dark, yet surprisingly funny and lighhearted! Not quite as good as harry potter or septimus heap, bbut it is definitaly up there for my favorite fantasy !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What cabin is this?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey guys!!!! Sup? Hows life for y'all?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looking for a good read? I recommend Bran Hambric: TheFarfield Curse by Kaleb Nation. He thinks it's great choice for fans of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and Fablehaven. Here's the lowdown: Bran’s mother was a criminal. Her crime was magic and magic,it seems, runs in the family. When Bran's mother gets involved with a sorcerer trying to make an evil curse, she hides her young son in a bank vault to protect him. She knows dark wizards will come after Bran because he has the power to finish the curse. Bran spends the next 8 years living with a banker's family in a town where magic is illegal. His step family mistreats him. But one day, thereis a break-in and Bran is given a clue about his mother. The clue leads him to discover his own magic powers. Bran has a destinyto fulfill--it could be for good or it could be for evil. Read the book to find out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! Just sad shambles had to die :(
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suitedude55 More than 1 year ago
Nikkayme More than 1 year ago
What Kaleb Nation has done with Bran Hambric is what all aspiring authors should aim for. The Farfield Curse is interesting, enthralling, and extremely well-written. Nation infuses his characters with so much life and heart that they leap off the pages. Bran instantly draws readers in with the mystery behind his story - who is he and why doesn't he remember anything from his childhood? He's intelligent and sarcastic and is surrounded by an insane family. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the Wilomas' and their strange behavior, eccentricities, and very stilted values. Sewey, Bran's father figure (if you can even call him that) does some of the most crazy things, but it makes the story that much more entertaining because I wouldn't put anything past him. The relationship between Bran and Rosie, the 'maid,' is so touching and caring. I loved reading their interactions. The city of Dunce is a magic-free zone, but signs of magic are all over the place. A favorite bit of the story for me was Dunce's need to be magic free, including hanging a sign outside the gates that states: no gnomes no mages etcetera A good number of jokes spring from this and I just loved how it was consistently tied into other aspects of the tale. Even though Dunce is magic-free, Nation brings boatloads of magic to the story. The book is split into four parts and had the beginning not been so funny and filled with crazy Wilomas doings, I may have been bored because the magic doesn't really begin until part two opens up. But once part two begins, magic takes hold of the story, in the best possible way. Kaleb Nation has melded this fantastical world with the very typical, everyday life in ways that work in perfect harmony. Bran Hambric took hold of my heart and never let go. So much so, that I'm more than eager to pick up the next book to see where the gnomes, mages, and etceteras lead to next. Opening line: The night was cold and dead, and so felt Clarence's heart. ~ pg. xiii Favorite lines: "You don't know.or maybe you do know how it feels to lose something that's so important to you, even when you've never had it, you miss it like your life is dependent on it." ~ pg. 286
Anonymous More than 1 year ago