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KLIATTIn this delightful fantasy, Queen Usharna is the holder of the four Keys of Power in Grenda Lear. On her deathbed, the Queen presents one of the keys to each of her children. Berayma, the heir to the throne, receives the Key of the Scepter; her daughter Areava receives the Key of the Sword; stuttering son Olio receives the Key of the Heart; and Lynan, the youngest son, receives the Key of Union. Upon the death of Usharna, Berayma, the new monarch, is murdered by the chancellor, Orkid, and his accomplice, Dejanus. Orkid and Dejanus plan to blame the murder on Lynan, the only child of the Queen and her true love, the General Elynd Chisal. Areava believes the lies of Orkid and Dejanus, having always been prejudiced against Lynan since his father was a "commoner," unlike her own father who was a nobleman. Lynan and his friends, the warrior Kumul, the crookback Ager, and the student magician Jenrosa are forced to flee their home in Kendra. The group plans to travel to the Oceans of Grass where they will start a rebellion and regain the position that Lynan is due. The strength of the book lies in the camaraderie of the group on the run and the swiftly paced plot that ends with hope for the coming rebellion. The novel definitely reads as the first in a series with the last chapter setting the scene for the next installment in the saga. Readers will want to continue the Keys of Power series with the forthcoming titles, Fire and Sword and Sovereign. YAs will respond to the young prince's coming-of-age story and may see a bit of themselves in the prince's insecurity as a responsible leader. This enjoyable fantasy will appeal to readers of the DragonLance series as well asreaders of Dennis Jones, Caroline Stevermer, and Victoria Strauss. A light, fun novel for epic fantasy readers and for those looking for tales of royal intrigue. (Book One of Keys of Power). KLIATT Codes: SA-Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, DAW, 424p., Ages 15 to adult.
— Ginger Armstrong