The Wayfinder

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Winhal Eldras is a Wayfinder, able to Find anything lost: a lost ring, the way home, a blue dress in the marketplace, a lost child. But what happens to a Wayfinder who has lost his own way? Sometimes the only way to get through something is to charge straight ahead. After a tragic accident, Winchal Eldras must forget his personal problems in order to save his country which is suddenly threatened by a deadly plague.

Win is given a Finding by the Prince of the Heartland to seek ...

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Winhal Eldras is a Wayfinder, able to Find anything lost: a lost ring, the way home, a blue dress in the marketplace, a lost child. But what happens to a Wayfinder who has lost his own way? Sometimes the only way to get through something is to charge straight ahead. After a tragic accident, Winchal Eldras must forget his personal problems in order to save his country which is suddenly threatened by a deadly plague.

Win is given a Finding by the Prince of the Heartland to seek healing from the plague. But the Finding leads straight down into the Rift, a dangerous canyon from which no one has ever returned. His only companion is Lady Kala, a telepathic Tazi hound, who is demanding and stubborn. How will they ever Find their way through the Rift to the other side? Win faces the problems squarely and begins his descent into an emotionally tangled world full of unknown dangers. (Also available as eBook, Kindle, Nook, etc.)

Eleven-year-old Win, an apprentice Finder, must go into the mysterious Great Rift to find the Well of Life, the only hope of healing the Heartland of plague.

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Editorial Reviews

Winchell Eldras, an apprentice Finder, loses self-respect when he is unable to save his sister from falling into the Rift—the deep canyon that lies outside the city walls of G'il Rim. When Prince Reynard arrives from the plague-ridden capital of the Heartland, he demands that Winchell should seek the "Well of Life." Win, accompanied by Lady Kala, a royal Tazi "gazehound," determines to prove his skill as a Finder and descends into the Rift. There he meets various obstacles that deter his "Finding," including the eagle Paz Naamit, the Wolf Clan, and Lady Kala's own wish to be free. Pattison creates a credible secondary world through her descriptions, the character of Lady Kala is endearing, and the plot is action packed. Nevertheless her story lacks depth in terms of character development, theme, and plotting. Although Win is shown to conquer his fear of the Rift and is engaged in brave acts, his inner character is less well developed. The episodes dealing with Win's encounters with the Wolf Clan form a substantive subplot centered on the "Wolf Head" amulet that Win's mother had stolen from the Wolf Clan. Unfortunately, this plot is only loosely connected—and not symbolically—to Win's own quest. Likewise, the "dark-robed" sentry who guards the entrances to the "Well"—a conventional fantasy figure—is given little symbolic weight. Therefore the sacrifice Win makes to not "drink the healing water" and so grieve "forever" for his sister lacks conviction in this readable but lightweight fantasy. Teens who have enjoyed Lloyd Alexander's The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen (Dutton, 1991/VOYA February 1992) might like Win's story. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M (Readablewithout serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2000, Greenwillow, 200p, . Ages 12 to 14. Reviewer: Hilary Crew SOURCE: VOYA, April 2001 (Vol. 24, No.1)
Children's Literature
Ever since the Hogwarts Express pulled away from the station, there has been a renewed interest in children's fantasy books. Darcy Pattison has created a delightful hybrid—an adventure book set against a fantasy background—with original appeal for new or renewed fantasy readers. Win Eldras is an apprentice Wayfinder, a gifted seeker with highly developed instincts that helps him to locate lost items and people in the f'giz (fog) that frequently envelopes the village of G'il Rim. While clearly destined for the duties of a "finder," Win has experienced a serious wound to his confidence when he is unable to find and save his halfsister, Zanna, from plunging into the vastness of the Rift. Demoralized, Win vows never to "find" again, but a deadly plague forces him on a quest for the Well of Life which holds water with the power of renewal and healing, the only antidote to the drought and death shadowing the Heartland. Accompanied by a telepathic dog, and aided by a grateful giant eagle, Win crosses the Rift and encounters dangerous creatures and flawed humans as tests of his heroic quest, and learns that with great gifts come great burdens which only he can bear. Darcy Pattison has created a wellplotted tale that will have young readers speedily flipping pages. Win Eldras is a multidimensional character whose emotional conflicts are totally believable. Overall, this is a book to strongly recommend for young readers who may be wild about Harry, but are ready to explore new worlds of imagination and daring.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Eleven-year-old Win is a Wayfinder, blessed with the ability to find anything-a highly prized talent in G'il Rim, where dense and dangerous fogs swirl up from the nearby Rift, obscuring everything in the city for days at a time. Lady Kala is a telepathic Tazi hound, used to a life of luxury in the King's kennels, but secretly yearning for some excitement. They meet when the dog accompanies Prince Reynard to G'il Rim in search of a Wayfinder. They need to brave the Rift in order to find the Well of Life, which contains the only cure to the plague that is attacking the Heartland. Prophecy indicates that Win is the only one who can succeed, but a tragic accident has left him unable to find anything. When the Prince falls ill, Lady Kala and Win brave the unknown terrors of the Rift, including a giant eagle, a sly cave monster, and the desperate Wolf Clan. There is little humor, and the relationship between Win and Lady Kala isn't particularly involving, but Pattison has created an intriguing universe and some interesting secondary characters, especially Win's mother, the only person known to have survived the Rift, and the story is fast paced.-Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780979862137
  • Publisher: Mims House
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Pages: 212
  • Age range: 11 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 0.45 (w) x 7.81 (h) x 5.06 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The F'giz

The city lay swaddled in F'giz, the densest mists of the year; they swirled up out of the Rift at the city's back, covering everything with a thick blanket of damp fog. Yet preparations continued for Ironmaster Cyril Jordan's fiftieth birthday party. Plans, announced weeks ago, included entertainment of jugglers, minstrels, and belly dancers. Sweetmeats and dried fruits had been brought in the last caravan to G'il Rim from the capital city of G'il Dan and stored in cool cellars, along with the finest meads and ales. Because of the fog, Wayfinders were kept busy throughout the day, escorting tradesmen delivering waxed wheels of yellow and white cheeses, loaves of fragrant breads, and roasted rabbit, duck, and goat. Nothing could keep Mayor Augustus Porter--or any other citizen--from attending the party, not even the F'giz.

Head Wayfinder Ell Eldras warned Cyril early that evening, "This is the worst F'giz I've seen in twenty years. I don't know how we can make it through the night without someone lost." He ran a hand through his iron gray mane. "To make it worse, we may have to use apprentices to make sure everyone makes it to the party on time. I'll supervise them myself, but--"

"Fine, fine." Cyril agreed, then turned to discuss ballads with the minstrels.

As the afternoon wore on, the F'giz grew deeper still, the Rift mists flowing thick over stone roofs, creeping under thresholds, and stalking through abandoned streets. An hour before Cyril's party was to begin, the Wayfinders were edgy, pacing around the dining room of Finder's Hall. Then the moment foraction arrived. They scattered into the night, red-and-white robes disappearing into the fog and cries muted.

"May you have a prosperous night!"

"Good Finding!"

The mayor's hand weighed heavily on Apprentice wayfinder Winchal Eldras's shoulder. Win concentrated to keep from shrugging it off. His shoulder would ache tomorrow, but that was the price of being a Finder: sore shoulders, tired feet, and fat purses.

"Are we lost?" said the mayor for the tenth time.

Win took pity on him. They took two more rapid steps; then Win said, "Look."

Above their heads hung the Forge and Hammer, the Ironworkers' Guild sign. From here on huge lanterns hung on iron spikes every ten feet along an iron fence, dim beacons in the choking fog. Beyond their circle of light loomed a shapeless hulk, the Ironworkers' Guild House.

The mayor dropped his hand with a sigh of relief,then quickly slapped it back on Win's shoulder. The Finders' Guild told stories of folk losing their way Just ten feet from a house and waiting hours for a Finder to Find them. Or worse, wandering around until they wound up outside the city gates, standing in awe at the sense-staggering edge of the Rift. The clouds coalesced into forms so substantial a lost soul was tempted to step out onto them. A fatal mistake.

During the fogless dry season even cowards scoffed at the stories. But this was the wet season. The mayor dared not take a chance on his own in the F'giz. His hand clutched Win's shoulder in a death grip.

Elaborate wrought-iron gates swung open easily at Win's touch. They entered a courtyard, and the great stone house towered foundationless over them.

"Who goes there?" called the gruff voice of the doorkeeper.

"Apprentice Finder Eldras escorting Mayor Porter."

"Apprentice Finder Angelus escorting Mistress Porter."

Win grunted. Kira had made good time, too, even escorting the mayor's pampered wife.

Within a few steps the house's windows materialized, complete with wrought-iron grillwork. Bright beams of light trickled a few feet before dissipating in the fog. Muffled music seeped under the doorway.

Coins dropped into Win's hand, then Kira's hand. The mayor and his wife stumbled up the steps into the welcoming light and laughter.

Eli, Win's stepfather, appeared in a pool of light. He slapped them both on the back, then drew the red-and-white pin-striped robes of the Head Finder closer against the chilly mists. "Good Finding!"

"Everyone else is here?"

"Yes, the mayor will get his grand entrance. And maybe, just maybe, we'll make it through this night." He pulled at his chin. "The mayor shows his trust in our guild by letting our best apprentices escort him and his wife. You did well for the guild by making such good time. Well done."

The apprentices grinned.

"We can Find anything, anywhere, anytime," Win said, and Kira agreed. In the fog the white halves of their apprentice robes disappeared, leaving only the red sides in a lopsided look that disoriented strangers. Win was neat and tidy, from his immaculate apprentice's robe to closely cropped black hair to clean fingernails. The bright light from the house threw his face, especially his aristocratic nose, into sharp profile. At eleven he and Kira were the oldest apprentices in Finder's Hall. They were equally matched, except that Win's fear of heights kept him away from the edge of the Rift, while Kira was comfortable anywhere in the city. After five years of training, they hoped their flawless execution of duties this evening would clinch their positions as fullfledged Finders.

Kira, a large girl, reached up to unbind her blond hair, which had been plaited and twisted into a massive knot on the nape of her neck.

Ell said, "Let's get back to Finder's Hall for a few hours of rest before we return to escort everyone home."

"Race you," Kira said to Win. She shook her head, further loosening the locks that were already starting to frizz in the damp air.

"Done," Win said, then loped away on long legs into the murk.

"Slow down," Ell called after them, but it was a goodnatured admonition. He'd been a young Finder once, flush in the knowledge that he could speed through fog that held most people immobile.

The Wayfinder. Copyright © by Darcy Pattison. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Finding Hope

    There are those in G'il Rim who are born with the ability to find things- anything or anyone you might be looking for. Called Wayfinders, they are an important guild that assists the people of the city, especially during the wet season when a dense fog envelops the city and makes it impossible to navigate. Win is a gifted young apprentice Wayfinder, hoping to soon finish his apprenticeship.

    Everything appears to be working in his favor until tragedy strikes and Win blames himself. Win determines to never use his finding ability again, but fate has something else in mind. The plague arrives in G'il Rim, and only one cure exists. A man instructs that a Wayfinder must venture into the Rift, a chasm bordering their land, and selects Win for the task. Win goes on an adventure that will not only heal the land, but hopefully bring some peace to him as well.

    The Wayfinder was a good read! The coming of age story is reminiscent of popular young adult works such as Lowry's The Giver or Spinelli's Wringer. The book has strong fantasy influences, existing in a pseudo-medieval land governed by a monarchy and full of magic in the form of talking animals and healing waters. Pattinson doesn't flood the story with descriptive details, building enough of a setting for the reader to visualize the lay of the land but leaving a large amount up to the reader's imagination. This may work well for younger readers who would grow easily bored with too much detail, but I occasionally found it difficult to visualize the appearance of a location or a character.

    The primary characters or Win and his canine companion, Lady Kala, were well developed, although there were some gaps in the story. A bit of background is given on Win's mother, but Pattison provides little more than a sentence when alluding to Win's father. Considering the significance of his parentage, I can only hope there will be a sequel which will build on that detail. Otherwise, it seems like a pointless, undeveloped plot device. As with many quests, the tale is built around the hero and his trusted companion, and together they face dangers and trials through which they grow.

    I'd recommend this book for anyone looking for a light, quick read (I finished it within a 4 hour flight, so it's a quick one)! It's a fun, quick-paced, adventure, written for youngsters but suitable for readers of any age! I'd be interested to see if there will be a sequel. The way this book left off, there's certainly potential for it. If so, I'll definitely give it a read!

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  • Posted July 9, 2011

    I recommend this

    I thought it was very well written and I was hooked on this book.
    I think young and old will love this one.It is a fast pace which keeps you reading until the very end. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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