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Children's LiteratureThis first novel in the "Outcast" series introduces young Timothy, a non-magician in a world of wizardry. Upon his noble birth, Timothy's father fears for the safety and acceptance of his unusual son and hides him away in an alternate world. While there, Timothy demonstrates an ability to create objects that improve his solitary life. From a shelter to a robotic friend, Timothy builds all that he needs to survive. Upon his father's death, however, Leander, one of his father's students and a powerful figure in the magical world, visits Timothy and offers him the chance to experience the world beyond the confines of his island. In doing so, he gives Timothy a new perspective but also exposes him to new danger. Timothy's uniqueness makes him impervious to magical spells, thus giving him a power both unheard of and terrifying for those who depend upon magic to maintain equity and order. Timothy is befriended by Lord Nicodemus, a powerful wizard who offers him protection. Nicodemus is not as amiable as he seems, however, and Timothy must ultimately learn who to trust and develop the skills and courage necessary to defeat Nicodemus in his attempt to garner unlimited power. The novel is fast-paced and plot-driven but does not skimp on character development. The fear and joy that Timothy faces as he enters a new world, the protectiveness and concern that Leander develops toward his charge, the loyalty exhibited by Timothy's closest friends, and the dark motives that drive Nicodemus' choices are rich and well-crafted. 2004, Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, Ages 10 to 16.
—Wendy Glenn, Ph.D.