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?Want to be a mage? Then do we have the job for you??
Sounds great for a veteran role-player. When on-the-job training entails battling demons, learning magic through trial and error, and living in a world without toilet paper, things could get rough. But to be dropped in the middle of a forest and having to do it on your own with no instruction?welcome to James? world.
It all gets started when his grandfather suggests to James, a young man on ...
“Want to be a mage? Then do we have the job for you…”
Sounds great for a veteran role-player. When on-the-job training entails battling demons, learning magic through trial and error, and living in a world without toilet paper, things could get rough. But to be dropped in the middle of a forest and having to do it on your own with no instruction…welcome to James’ world.
It all gets started when his grandfather suggests to James, a young man on the verge of graduating high school, that he check out the following advertisement for a job.
“Magic! Real Magic! Ever wanted to learn? We require someone with intelligence and a disciplined mind. Those well versed in fantasy novels and role playing games a plus. May need to travel.”
Sounded like the perfect job for a veteran role-player and avid fantasy reader. James had no idea he’d be whisked to another world, completely cut off from friends and family. Arriving in a meadow in the middle of a forest, he’s greeted by a creature not entirely human. He was then told three things:
Magic works here…
Don’t try to go home…
Get to the village of Trendle…
Then the creature vanished.
Which way was Trendle? Where was he? What might inhabit the forest that will seek his ruination? These were but a few of the questions needing to be unraveled.
Alone with only his wits and knowledge gleaned from hundreds of books and dungeon campaigns, he started out just trying to survive. He soon learned that one mistake, one lapse in judgment could mean his death.
Not long after arriving, he made the acquaintance of Miko, a street-wise kid who quickly became his friend and companion. Little did he know that the strength within this child from the streets of Bearn, a strength that would be tested again and again as they waded through battle after battle, delved in hidden passages deep beneath the earth, and faced off against an the might of an Empire, would be invaluable in the trials ahead.
The Unsuspecting Mage is the first book of The Morcyth Saga, a seven book epic fantasy adventure. It follows James as he seeks first to master the art of magic then to uncover the reason why he had been brought to this strange new world where armies are on the move and gods meddle in the affairs of men.
Despite the look of abandonment, a small plume of smoke made its way from the farmhouse's chimney. The faint sound of horses could also be heard from the barn. James quickly returned back down the hill until he no longer cast a silhouette against the afternoon sky. He kept low as he carefully made his way around the farm, doing his best not to be observed. As he circled the farmhouse, he watched the compass. As he moved, so did the compass, continuously pointing toward the structure.
Satisfied that he knew where Perrilin was, he found a safe place amidst tall grass where he could keep an eye on the house. The sun was low in the sky. He hadn't realized that his trek had taken so much time, but it seemed that sunset was not far off. He settled into his hiding place and waited for dark. When darkness came he would see what he could do. Guards on legitimate business of the city would have taken him to the jail. The fact that he was taken here could only bode ill.
He kept an eye on the farmhouse for the next hour until the sun set and the light faded. Just as the sun dipped below the horizon, a man emerged through the front door and made his way toward the barn. This was no farmer! The man had the look of a street tough and carried a sword at his hip. James watched through the tall grass as the man entered the barn. Before he could make up his mind whether or not to investigate, the barn door swung open and the man headed back to the farmhouse.
What is going on? he wondered. And should he even get involved? If it wasn't for his need to enter the Royal Archives, he would have turned around and gotten out of there. But he needed information, and it appeared Perrilin might be his only avenue through which he could get it. Plus, he liked the bard. During the evening they spent together on the road he found him to be friendly and good-natured. He couldn't leave without finding out what was going on. Things did not feel right. He settled down in the grass once more, and waited for the night. In darkness he could find out what was going on. He made himself comfortable, and waited.
Now dark, the barn was quiet as he approached. He peered through an open window and discovered six horses. Leaving the barn, he carefully made his way to the side of the farmhouse, doing his best not to stumble over anything in the dark. He carefully looked through one of the windows where light emerged.
On the other side he saw an empty room with a single doorway on the opposite wall. The light coming through the window originated from the room on the other side of the doorway. It looked to be the main room of the house. Four men took their ease on a couch and a couple of chairs. A fifth man stood in the middle of the room with his back to James.
The man stood there for several seconds before he stepped to the side. James gasped in shock to discover the man had been standing in front of a chair. And bound to the chair was the object of his search. Perrilin.
The bard looked the worse for wear. His left eye was swollen shut and his torn shirt was red with blood. James watched while the four men joked and laughed but he could not make out what was said. The fifth man returned to stand before Perrilin and said something. Perrilin didn't respond, he simply sat there and stared with a defiant look. The man said something else. Then he struck the bard across the face, snapping his head to the side.
Perrilin brought his head back up and continued to stare defiantly at his tormentor while blood dripped from the corner of his mouth. The man who struck Perrilin walked over to the fireplace and pulled out a red hot poker. He then stood in front of Perrilin where he held the poker a few inches from the bard's face. He gave Perrilin a moment to contemplate the red-hot poker, then the man spoke once more.
James hurried to the front door and picked up several stones along the way. Steeling himself, he paused a moment as he reached the door. Taking a few deep, calming breaths, he laid his hand upon the door. Words issued forth as he cast a spell, and at the utterance of the final word, the door exploded inward. Wooden shards flew everywhere.
The men turned to see James standing in the doorway. He cast another spell and two stones flew with magic-induced speed, striking captors in the chest before they had time to react. The stones exploded through their backs in a grisly display, embedding into the wall.
The one who had threatened Perrilin reacted first and threw the hot poker at James. He then drew his sword and advanced upon him. The remaining two fled and were soon out of sight.
James dodged to the side in order to avoid the thrown poker. He took his last stone and cast his spell, throwing it at the approaching man. By a stroke of ill-fated luck, the man moved his sword at just the right time; the stone struck the blade and snapped it in two. He threw his broken sword to the ground, drew his dagger and charged.
James did not want to withstand the charge of this bull of a man as he came straight at him. Instead turned and ran outside, into the darkness. Once beyond the reach of the light and into the shadows, he turned abruptly and quickly made his way back toward the side of the house.
He reached the side of the house just as the man raced through the doorway. The man tried to determine where James had gone, but his eyes had yet to adjust to the dark. James' breath froze in his lungs as the man's eyes roved over the very spot where he hid. Then turning abruptly, he headed for the other side of the house.
Not able to believe his luck at not being seen, James backed away from the door, all the while keeping against the side of the house. He planned his next move. To cast a spell would require him to give away his position as he spoke the words. But he might not have much choice if he wanted to survive this encounter.
Suddenly, the sound of footsteps came toward him from out of the dark. He held still against the side of the house and remained absolutely quiet, hardly daring to breathe.
Not more than a foot away, he discerned a shadow in the form of a man's silhouette. The shadow slowly made his way past where James hid in the dark. The light from the stars reflected off the bare blade of a sword. The man came to a stop, his head cocked first to one side and then the other as he listened to the night.
Without warning the sword struck. James dodged the blow and jumped to the side as the blade came within inches of where his head had been only a split second before. Losing his balance, he hit the ground and rolled quickly away. The man turned toward the sound as he rolled, advancing quickly, sword poised to strike.
James rolled several more times, and then came to a stop on his back. Looking up, he saw the man almost upon him. The moonlight glinted off the bare metal raised to end his life. In a moment of panic he thrust his hand toward the man, and a mental picture flashed of the man flying through the air away from him. He shouted, “Away!” Feeling a surge of power, the man was picked up and flung away. He struck the side of the house and smashed through to the other side. The force of the impact shattered bones and pulped flesh. The man was not a pretty sight.
The jagged hole in the side of the house spilled light onto where James lay on the ground. Getting to his feet, a crossbow bolt embedded itself in the ground where his chest had just been. He looked around and saw the man who had been interrogating Perrilin framed in a window, winding a crossbow to fire again. Placing another bolt in place, he once more aimed it at James.
He pictured the crossbow in his mind and envisioned its crosswire snapping. Without even vocalizing the words of a spell, he let thought guide the magic. He let loose a surge of power. Twang! The crosswire broke. Snapping back, it caught the man across the right side of his face. He cried out in pain, and the crossbow fell as he disappeared back into the house.
A quick scan revealed no other men in sight. Moving stealthily, James made his way over to the hole in the wall and peered in around the edge. Only the dead man was visible. Ever so carefully he climbed through the hole and made his way into the room. There he came to the dead man's side and took his knife. Now with the added confidence of having a blade in hand, he cautiously approached the doorway which led to the main room wherein Perrilin was being held.
Perrilin was still bound in the chair. Head lolled forward, the bard looked dead but for the gentle rise and fall of his chest. James waited for a second and made sure the last two men were not around.
A noise caused him to turn. One of the captors climbed in through the hole in the wall, sword at the ready and coming at him.
James visualized the knife flying and striking the man. He let loose with the power and threw. Guided by magic, the knife sailed through the air and struck the man in the center of the chest, puncturing the heart. His sword fell from his lifeless hand as his body lurched backward through the hole, and came to land on the ground outside.
On the brink of exhaustion due to all the magic he'd thrown around, James leaned against the wall for a second to catch his breath. He kept an eye out for the remaining captor. Suddenly, he heard the sound of a galloping horse. Rushing to the hole in the wall, he looked outside just in time to see the remaining captor. As he rode past, their eyes locked and James saw a red welt oozing blood running from his hairline to his jaw, crossing over the right eye. Their gazes held for a moment longer before the man was swallowed by the night.
--Brian S. Pratt
"The Morcyth Saga-The Broken Key Trilogy-and more..."
Posted February 24, 2010
This book read, almost exactly, like my younger brother's D&D games. Poor charcter development when there was character development. Sentence structure make some passages hard to comprehend. It is very well written if the author is a high-school student. The plot had potential but went nowhere.
47 out of 78 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2010
I'm very much a gaming geek and I think it would be wonderful to be able to live the lives of some of my RP characters. Brian S Pratt has given me an escape from day to day life that doesn't involve dragging out the dice or logging in to a forum. I absolutely loved this book. I was engaged from the very beginning, feeling somewhat in tune with the main character.
Having read a few of the reviews on this book, I was hesitant to pick it up. I downloaded to my nook for free and gave it a shot. I had some complaints about writing style, grammar, character development. I stuck it out, though. Got used to the here and there odd scene and misspellings and now can't wait to see what James gets in to next.
It really IS a good story. I think that, if you can read a book without cringing at every mistake, you could really enjoy this story.
Though he has a quirky writing style, (third person, present tense) if you've gamed at all, you can get used to it very quickly!
I would suggest this book to ANYONE who enjoys gaming or fantasy novels.
45 out of 53 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 1, 2010
I find it difficult to understand how this book could have gotten so many positive reviews. The premise is good, I'll give it that much, but the story itself is only passable, and the character developement is impossibly weak and difficult to believe. If it were a 15-year-old author submitting the book as a writing assignement, I'd say he had potential; but professional, commercial level writing, this is not. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say the author was encouraged by too many people that told him his writing was great, without giving him any real and honest criticism.
First off, it's written in a very quirky present-tense form, which constantly pulled my attention away from the story and pointed it at the writing style. Second, it was way too expository ... the author was continually explaining how the characters felt, and why they felt that way instead of simply telling the story and letting the reader figure such details out themselves. In the same vein, many of the story elements were simply unecessary, as if it were a grade-school lesson, not a novel.
The main character is horribly one-dimensional; thrust into a world of magic, after going to lengths to show us how he is too shy to even ask a girl for a date, he competently and calmly starts using his new magic, and acting the hero in every situation. Realistically, a person of the temperment and personality type originally protrayed would have curled up in a ball and gone catatonic. At the very least, he should have gone through some agonizing forced growth. But no, all the agonizing is on the readers side as he glibly begins slaying evil-doers without missing a step. He runs off on a quest that is unclear and unguided, and he has no compelling reason to do so beyond a gut feeling he ought to. He is competent and confident, and has no basis to be that way whatsoever. Om top of it all, he is condescending to his companions, as if they were the strangers, and he the experienced native.
I'm sure the story worked well as a D&D campaign. As a novel, I think it fails utterly. I also think it is a shame the work was ever published in this state ... with some proper coaching, it's possible the author could have greatly improved his craft and actually produced something worth reading. But this book is not that, and the fact is has been published will only encourage him to produce more tripe in the same vein.
34 out of 54 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 25, 2009
I wish every free ebook would be this entertaining. Lots of action, magic and thrilling chase scenes. The hero is a young man from our world, one who is ready to graduate and is being pressured to find a job. When he answeres an ad in the paper, the adventure gets started.
That's what I liked about this book the most. The action starts from the beginning and continues throughout. First there's a pack of wolves hot on his tail, bandits, and demonic forces. Trying not to give too much away here.
Okay, now the detractors. The writing needs some work, as does editing. Nothing major, though I did notice where improvements could be made. For the most part, the story flows well, but there are parts where it bogs down on inconsequential scenes, such as haggling, eating at an inn, that sort of thing. Thankfully, these are few and far between.
If I had to say what my favorite part of this book was, it would have to be the way James never has a chance to rest. A day here, two at most there, and troubles start. Not much in the way of down time you might say. The story rushes James along, throwing enemies at him left and right. I really enjoyed the trek through secret passages culminating in a subteranean boat ride.
Now, let's talk magic. James is, of course, from Earth. But in this mew world, magic works and he can manipulate it. He uses his past experiences in role playing, along with ideas gleaned from hundreds of books he's read (he's a bookworm), to better craft the spells he comes up with. He's a bit rough at first, but gets in the swing of things quicky.
All in all, a very fun and adventurous book. A good one when there's snow on the ground and a roaring fire nearby.
29 out of 38 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 19, 2010
I really loved this book; so much so, that immediately after I finished reading it, I purchased and downloaded the additional six volumes in the series. Took me two weeks to read all seven. Wonderful series. There is a sequel, however there is currently only one book finished (out of the proposed five) and I feel I must hold off, if only because I do not do well with cliffhangers. :-) Overall an excellent series, considering I usually read vampire fiction, and not overall fantasy. However, now that I've finished with this series, I shall definitely look into other books of a similar nature. Mr. Pratt has a lifelong fan in me. ThamasD
18 out of 28 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 16, 2010
Cool story line, likeable characters, and thanks for making the names easy to understand and pronounce, but pleasepleaseplease hire an editor:
*"... marketplace was jamb pact..." Uh, what?
*Sentences change tense halfway through.
James seems surprisingly mature for a highschool student. Believable, if we had some explanatory back story for him.
With some spit and polish this could be an enjoyable read. Self-published doesn't have to mean poor writing. I'd like to read the rest of the series, but the poor editing has me wary about laying out money for the next volumes.
16 out of 20 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 2, 2010
Amateur writing, no clear conflict, no clear antagonist, graphic killings without a motive, just...bad. I could find no justifiable message in it. If I had paid for this book, I'd be beyond annoyed. It reads like an adolescent writing about a fantasy. The main character is clearly a Mary Sue. I'll give this book one star since it won't permit me to give it no stars.
14 out of 30 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 24, 2010
Forget free--you couldn't pay me to read this. It reads like it was written in a high school freshman-year "creative writing" class. I'm a bit on the geeky side myself, so it's not the subject matter that bugged me, it was the awful, awful, awful writing.
13 out of 28 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 9, 2010
I enjoyed the story, but it felt as if this book was a rough draft and still needed editing, polishing, etc. I have not decided whether or not to read the other books in the series because the writing style was lacking. If you enjoy a good story and don't mind a book that still needs editing then I recommend this to you.
13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 16, 2010
I have read alot of free e-books. Most of them are .... well lets just say that its a darn good thing that they were free. In my humble opinion this one was great. I believe it was by smashwords. I have read several of theirs and they were all good. They have a great marketing ploy, give you the first one in the series free get you hooked and you buy the next ones. I will more then likely be buying the next one.
13 out of 18 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 16, 2010
Simple story of a boy out of his element, literally. Cast into a world of magic and intrigue, he has to learn his purpose and place, and soon.
I enjoyed the story, and the sudden cliffhanger at the end left me looking for the second. Unfortunately, all of the series except the second book is available in the ebook format. Hope to find the second one soon!
12 out of 16 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I was looking forward to downloading this for my new nook. Sadly, it didn't live up to my expectations. The author's writing style is very choppy and juvenile, to the point of distraction. It's sad because I feel like the storyline has potential, but only in the hands of a more experienced writer, or a talented editor.
If you're looking for magic try Mercedes Lackey's "Elemental Masters" series, or for a younger reader "The Gemma Doyle Trilogy" by Libba Brey. For complete fantasy go for anything by Tamora Pierce.
12 out of 26 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 22, 2010
I didn't expect much out of this book considering it's price (free). That being said this book honestly surprised me by being one of the better fantasy works I have read recently. It takes the classic swords 'n spells fantasy quest concept and adds an interesting twist. I intend to purchase more of the series next time I am in need of reading material.
11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 17, 2010
Sounded like it was going to be interesting. Had the potential to be. Started out interesting despite the funky way of writing. Then bam. There is NO point to this book! NONE! When will the main guy develop a little? Never. When will there be a plot? Never. I cannot believe there will be a series of this! I know it is fantasy, but come on, some of the things that happen in this book are TOO out there....set up with all the funds needed in a new world within the first 25 pages. PLEASE!
10 out of 21 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 31, 2010
I've only read the first 100 pages or so, but I simply cannot take any more. The style of writing is too basic: sometimes it feels like the author simply put down dialogues that could have been part of a film script, but that certainly should have been reworked for a novel. Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of novels told in the present tense, although it can work well in some cases (Philippa Gregory, for example)... However, in this novel it simply served to irritate me further...
9 out of 19 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 10, 2010
The idea of the book is really good and the story hooked me from the beginning. However, I found the author's attempted use of present tense jarring, distracting, disorienting, and uncomfortable. Besides this, there are numerous momentary lapses into the usual past tense, which only intensifies the disorientation. I haven't finished the book yet; but I will probably not purchase any more in the series unless they are edited, refined, and rewritten in past tense. Still, I think this author has good potential and simply needs some good editing to come out with a work he can be proud of.
9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 14, 2010
Loved reading this book and now the series, I like the writing style and am now on book 4 or 5 but had to go to another website (kobo) to download the other books as they are not available from BN.
9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 1, 2011
I seriously wanted to like this book. The writing, however, is atrocious. Writing entirely in present tense is a challenging technique, and not one that this author has mastered (neither has his editor). The constant present tense, plus mistakes, have made this book extremely difficult to plow through. Add to that the moments of unnecessary detail, which add nothing to the story, and I feel as if I'm wading through someone's journal (not even a good one), but that can't be right because journals aren't written in present tense. The concept is good, there are good scenes, but it's very difficult to get past the writing. I would have purchased more of the books in this series if this one had been readable. Sorry.
8 out of 12 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 28, 2010
I picked up a nook while traveling and picked up a few of the free books for it, since it was fast. After being stuck for 15 hours in airports and flying with nothing but this to read, I hit the next airport bookstore for a hard copy of something. The story is slow, the descriptive language overwhelming. While the idea is interesting and shows promise, the actual content the book contains could have been conveyed in about half the number of pages. Overall, it's nothing that can't be fixed with a good editing.
8 out of 16 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 11, 2006