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The Healer's Keep

The Healer's Keep

4.7 14
by Victoria Hanley

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Something is threatening the legendary Healer’s Keep, where students gifted in the healing arts are trained. Will they learn enough in time to keep the darkness at bay? Or will the Shadow King turn their gifts against them and once again walk the world?

“This complex and engrossing companion to The Seer and the Sword can be read independently. Lovers of


Something is threatening the legendary Healer’s Keep, where students gifted in the healing arts are trained. Will they learn enough in time to keep the darkness at bay? Or will the Shadow King turn their gifts against them and once again walk the world?

“This complex and engrossing companion to The Seer and the Sword can be read independently. Lovers of fantasy will gravitate to its magic, its compelling characters, and its classic struggles between good and evil. Recommend this fine offering to fans of Diana Wynne Jones and David Eddings.”—School Library Journal

“Four young people divided by geography, class, and philosophy come together in the dream realm to fight the powers of darkness. . . . The tale works well both as a sequel [to The Seer and the Sword] and on its own. Solid and satisfying.”—Kirkus Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Healer's Keep by Victoria Hanley follows Princess Saravelda, the 16-year-old daughter of Queen Torina (last seen in Hanley's The Seer and the Sword) as she unites with Dorjan, a fellow student at Healer's Keep (where they study the mystic arts). The two soon join with Dorjan's half-sister, Maeve, in a heroic battle against the evil Shadow King.
Creating a fantasy world complex enough to capture the imagination without overwhelming readers is a difficult task. Hanley struggles to find and maintain this balance with mixed results throughout this novel. The double quest motif exemplifies the problem. In one thread of the story, Maeve and her two companions journey to escape slavery and carry the Dreamwen stone across an ocean. In the other thread, Sara and her two companions begin their studies at the Healer's Keep but are soon forced to fight the evil that threatens to destroy it. Old family ties, magical gifts, and a powerful villain tie the two story lines together. This richness of imaginative design is sure to appeal to many readers of fantasy, but Hanley's penchant for sudden revelations and an unusually dense vocabulary of names and places makes it difficult for her to develop any one aspect of the novel to a fulfilling degree. Hanley's heroines also underline the book's mixed success. Maeve's quiet determination balances Sara's impetuous energy. Together they demonstrate that intelligence and courage come in many forms. Nevertheless, most character development comes early in the book, and instead of growing more compelling as the plot progresses, both young women become flatter and flatter. Fans of Hanley's first novel, The Seer and the Sword (Holiday House, 2000/VOYA April 2001), might welcome this companion story that shares a few characters with its predecessor but which can also stand alone. For other readers of traditional fantasy, this book is unlikely to stand out. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002, Holiday House, 384p,
— Megan Isaac
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-With her dying mother's aid, slave-born Maeve escapes from the Ebrowen Lord Morlen, who can enter sleepers' dreams to control or kill them and has virtually enslaved an entire country with the drug vahss. With the Dreamwen Stone singing in her ears, Maeve is assisted in her escape by Jasper, a carriage driver who is intrigued by her voice. At the same time, Maeve's half-brother Dorjan, whose existence she is unaware of, is entering the Healer's Keep to be trained as a healer of dreams. Joining him are Sara, the daughter of Bellandra's rulers, and Bern, who wants to destroy the Keep in the name of the Shadow King. When Dorjan and Maeve's paths accidentally cross in the Dream World, he realizes their connection and knows he must find her. In the end, Maeve's hidden gifts help Dorjan and Sara rescue the Keep and the world from the evils of Bern, Lord Morlen, and the Shadow King. This complex and engrossing companion to The Seer and the Sword (Holiday, 2000) can be read independently. Lovers of fantasy will gravitate to its magic, its compelling characters, and its classic struggles between good and evil. Recommend this fine offering to fans of Diana Wynne Jones and David Eddings.-Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Four young people divided by geography, class, and philosophy come together in the dream realm to fight the powers of darkness. Maeve, a Sliviite slave of noble descent, runs away from a sinister new master, as Jasper, a clever lowborn entrepreneur, risks his precarious freedom to help her escape. On the opposite side of the sea, Princess Saravelda of Archeld comes incognito to the Healer’s Keep of conquered Bellandra to study her magical gifts, while the outlander Dorjan enrolls, already proficient in his rare talent of walking in dreams. A plot by the disciples of the demonic Shadow King unites these four unlikely allies in a mystical battle to keep the spiritual light from being drained from the world. In this sequel to The Seer and the Sword (2001), Hanley again employs a complicated double narrative, intertwining the tales of her principals while keeping them physically apart. She extends the map of her world with decadent Sliviia and resentful Bellandra, and clarifies the underlying magical structure—although her excessive dependence on sound-alike terminology will force most readers to keep one finger in the glossary. The dramatic action keeps the characters hurtling from crisis to cataclysm, while forcing them to moral compromises that develop character depth. Although the one-dimensional villains, along with a tendency to tell rather than show, make this a more straightforward good-vs.-evil adventure than the subtly ambiguous conflict of Hanley’s debut, the tale works well both as a sequel and on its own. Solid and satisfying. (Fantasy. 12+)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.95(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Maeve's stomach tightened. "Good evening, sir," she said. "I am Maeve, here to serve you."
The lord propped himself on an elbow. "Maeve." He stared at her with eyes the color of steel. "And what is an unmarked girl doing in a bathhouse?"
Born into slavery, Maeve didn't know why her face was still unscarred when custom decreed she be cut by the time she was five. For years, she'd dreaded being called into the presence of her master, Lord Indol, afraid the day of marking had come, as it had for every other child in the bathhouse. Afraid of Lord Indol's patrier, the razor-sharp, double-edged knife of the privileged man. Every common slave in Sliviia received a slash mark on each cheek and one in the middle of the forehead. Crescents at the temples were Lord Indol's individual mark. Scars that named skills were put close to the ears or down the neck: a three-pronged mark for a cook, crisscrossing lines for a weaver, five slashes for a bathhouse masseuse.
Lord Indol had summoned her twice a year ever since she could remember, but he had never cut her. Instead, he had asked her in his reedy voice whether she knew the name of her father, and watched her closely when she told him no. Maeve's mother--once known as Lila the Fair--had been born a high lady but was condemned to slavery by her own father, Lord Hering. Why? He had promised his daughter to a noble Sliviite captain, but Lila had loved a different man instead--a man whose name she refused to tell.
Normally, only the nobility and lowborn free kept the smooth faces they were born with. But slave girls who gave promise of future beauty were also allowed to pass their fifth birthdays without being cut. If that beauty bore out, they received sentesan scars the day they turned fifteen: two lines circling each wrist, permanent bracelets condemning them to unspeakable lives. Because Maeve's owner, Lord Indol, had never cut her, Maeve feared he intended to make her a sentesan.
I'm seventeen, and still unscarred. Lord Indol had never tested her abilities, never sent her to train in the kitchens or gardens or in the sewing room, where her mother worked, never told her what he planned for her. When she asked Orlo, the slave who had risen to be master of the bathhouse, why she wasn't marked, he said he didn't know. Maeve was glad she served under Orlo instead of under the house matrons, who resented her smooth skin--they would cut her themselves, except that only lords could wield a patrier.
And now a man whose name she didn't know was looking at her as though she half belonged to him. Wishing she could tell him to close his mouth and shut his eyes, Maeve said, "Lord Indol considers me fit to serve here."
"What a lovely voice you have. Do you sing?"
"No, sir." Maeve hoped he couldn't tell she was lying.
The man looked from her to his patrier, which lay on a shelf close to the table. The patrier was the only weapon allowed in a bathhouse, an emblem of privilege the lords never relinquished. Maeve's face grew hot. A patrier was not to be used in a bathhouse. Why was he looking at her that way?
She ought to say something, any of the hundred soothing things Orlo had taught her. Instead she waited silently while the lord's smile faded. "You were sent here to rub my back," he said. "Proceed." He stretched out on the table, his broad back waiting for her touch.
Maeve dipped her hands in patchouli-scented oil and laid them on his back. As soon as she touched him, she felt as if she had fallen into a cold, gray bog.
Her hands often told her things about the people she touched. A tingle would begin in her palms, and she would know. She knew that Lady Loren's smiling face concealed great fear, knew Lord Meche was lying when he pretended to be a generous patron of the arts. The first time her hands had led her into someone else's mind, it had startled and worried her. But she'd come to accept this knowing: it helped her to stay out of trouble. And if Lady Loren covered her fear with a smile, or Lord Meche was really a miser, what of it?
But this man chilled and frightened her. Nausea roiled through her; she drew her hands away.
His head came up. His fingers grabbed her wrist, pulling hard. "What's the matter with you?"
"I'm sorry, sir. Perhaps another masseuse. There are many far better than me."
He twisted her wrist. His eyes impaled her, sharp as a patrier and very nearly the same color. His nostrils flared. "I never thought to find one such as you in a private bathhouse," he said.
"Such as me?"
"Others may have missed it, girl. I see better than most."
Maeve wanted to ask what he meant, but her tongue felt numb. She tried to avoid his scrutiny but found she couldn't turn her head, couldn't even close her eyes, which seemed to obey his will instead of her own. She descended into the darkness of his pupils, down, down, into shivering blankness, a place of gray shadows.
Abruptly, he let go of her wrist. "I don't want others," he said. "Proceed."
What choice did she have? A high lord, here at her master's invitation--Lord Indol, his host, would have promised him a luxurious bath and massage. The lords were very exacting in their code, and if this one complained, what would be the price of Lord Indol's honor? God knew it was never the wealthy who paid it.
Though tendrils of steam surrounded her, Maeve shivered. She coated her hands in oil once more.

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The Healer's Keep 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As in............this book is just to much. I read it when i was much younger and i have not been able to forget it since. Thumbs up to the writer, you changed a little kid's life..........=p
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome. That's all I have to say.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First read the seer and the sword (this is the second book of course). Though the first book is better than the second, both are written very well. For me, these go in the top ten books category. An easy read but all in all...amazing
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book a few years back, but having just reread the Seer and the Sword I now really want to add this book to my collection. Victoria Hanley does her job as an author by making you loves the heroes and heroines and by making you loathe the villians without compensating their realism. I noticed that pretty much everyone that commented positively on this book all like the same authors.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I found out there was a companion to the Seer and the Sword, I quickly got it. This novel is good enough to stand on its own though; someone who hadn't read the first novel probably wouldn't have even known that there was one! It has the right blend of fantasy, adventure, some romance, and a good plot! Read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is fantastic I seggest it to anyone who like's books that have a ton of magic and adventer. read this book it will not disopont you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is great because it takes you through worlds you never imagined and makes you feel like your there. the characters are amazing! this is a book about courage, adventure, and truth. really really recomended!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Read a story with new characters and far out travels. Sara will keep you on the edge of your seat. New powers are descovered and old ones are saved. Follow near destruction of the world and a meeting of old siblings. Liv in the heart of a magical kingdom.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I went to the library and this lovely surprise was waiting for me in the young adult section and I ended reading this book from cover to cover in about 4-5 hours. It is carefully woven so that the mixes between settings don't get to confusing. Some of the vocabulary doesn't make sense until you get further into the book.....but, it still is a wonderful book (hey I'm not here to be a critic) I recommend everyone who loved The Seer and the Sword (also by V. H.) will also find themselves captivated by this amazing fictional book. Get it and read until your done today!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Victoria Hanley builds on her previous novel, The Seer and the Sword, to expand the adventures in the kingdoms she created in that novel. The daughter of the King and Queen, a novice healer candidate, a runaway slave girl and a freeborn, but desperately poor young man are thrown together to save the world from the minions of the powerful, but here-to-fore contained Shadow King. The fast-paced story weaves each of these characters together showing them their special powers. By using their special powers together they work through some desperate situations which would be beyond each of them individually. This book is a wonderful read and especially suited for the young adults/adolescents for which Ms. Hanley writes. However, with a little freedom, she could easily fully develop the characters and situations into a 2 or 3 volume set. It would take little to make this story especially intriguing to all adults who enjoy this genre.