The Gray Isles

The Gray Isles

5.0 1
by F.T. McKinstry
     
 
In the Gray Isles, a northern realm cloaked in legends and storms, lives a secret. For thousands of years it lay in the otherworld, known only in the imaginations of sailors. Now, it has surfaced; first to Eadred, a wizard banished by his kind after being cursed by a witch; and then to Hemlock, a fisherman's son orphaned by the sea. When their paths collide, a

Overview

In the Gray Isles, a northern realm cloaked in legends and storms, lives a secret. For thousands of years it lay in the otherworld, known only in the imaginations of sailors. Now, it has surfaced; first to Eadred, a wizard banished by his kind after being cursed by a witch; and then to Hemlock, a fisherman's son orphaned by the sea. When their paths collide, a change is set into motion that the heavens watch with dread; for the legends tell, it heralds the birth of an immortal and the death of the realm.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554049547
Publisher:
Double Dragon Publishing
Publication date:
04/16/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
520 KB

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The Gray Isles 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
OrangeRhinoceros More than 1 year ago
In the second book of this series the author probes a young man’s mystical transformation and his painful acquiring of a self-knowledge which has profound implications for the Gray Isles and the realm of Ealiron. Lorth, the hero of Book One, has won high regard and is now an initiate to the Aenlisarfon, the council of high wizards, as well as being a siomithct, the highest level of assassin. He’s sent to investigate a rogue wizard, Eadred, but winds up on the trail of the youngster Hemlock, who is much like Lorth’s younger self, an outsider, gifted, and on the verge of becoming conscious of vast inner powers. Lorth now represents high wizard authority, yet must also use his rebellious cunning to move outside of what’s considered proper in order to assist Hemlock in his transformation. Against all conventional wisdom and common sense, the young Hemlock, a mere servant to wizards on the island of Urd in the Gray Isles, maintains that on several occasions he’s seen the mythic sea serpent, the loerfalos, a deadly manifestation of the primordial goddess. Friends scoff at him, he makes an enemy of the rogue wizard Eadred, and everyone he encounters maintains that he’s merely telling stories. Still unsure of his deeper identity even as uncanny proof of it builds around him, in his confusion and anguish Hemlock often even tries to retreat to the conventional explanation that he must be imagining it all. But his unconscious straining to understand the powerful forces moving within him leads him to break with all convention and embark on a perilous sea journey to discover his inner truth once and for all. The web of circumstance that brings him, Eadred, and Lorth together at first seems more unfathomable than any of them can accept. Only after everyone has adjusted their existing view of the world can they begin to make sense of what fate has wrought. Lorth, though sharing top billing with Hemlock in Book Two, still has opportunity to grow, to make mistakes and learn from them, and to piece together the mystery of Hemlock. His authority solidly grows as a rebel outsider now finding a role on the inside of the wizard institution. He shows insight, courage, and leadership where others are muddled, and he’s the only one in the book who gets to speak face to face with the unspeakably immense and powerful loerfalos. What I find interesting in both McKinstry’s books is that there is essentially a “wizard bureaucracy,” well-meaning but despite its accumulated store of magical knowledge, often clueless as to the real nature of the phenomena they seek to master, in this case the phenomenon of Hemlock himself. One example is Dirala, a gifted, powerful, well-meaning wizard but one so rule-bound that she administers exactly the wrong kind of tonic to her guest/prisoner Hemlock. The strength of this novel lies in its descriptions of Hemlock’s psychological states as he undergoes his psychic changes. It also abounds in excellent descriptions of emotions and sensations: “The sun smiled like a pretty witch holding a knife behind her back” or “The ice-cold grip of disbelief bit into his body as he hit the water.” There are undoubtedly many more stories of wisdom, magic, and intrigue to come from the realm of Ealiron, and I’m definitely looking forward to them. Michael D. Smith