His choices have the power to save or destroy.
With a loved one's life at stake, Jake charges through the portal into Lyric to stage a dramatic rescue, trusting that the signs that mark him as Restorer will guarantee success. But everything familiar in Lyric has vanished, swept away by deadly lies and a corrupt king. As forces conspire to turn him from his purpose, Jake finds his path leading to places beyond his courage.
While he confronts the temptation to flee his calling, Susan struggles in brutal captivity. Can she gain freedom before the enemy destroys her spirit, and will Jake choose to follow his destiny before everything is lost?
—Carol Award Winner—
About the Author
Sharon writes "stories for the hero in all of us" - uplifting and entertaining novels about ordinary people called to extraordinary challenges.
She's won several Carol awards for both contemporary Christian fiction and fantasy, and was a Christy finalist for The Restorer—a genre-blending adventure of a soccer-mom in an alternate world.
She holds an M.A. in communication, and worked for many years in arts ministry. In her various roles over the years as wife, mom, grandmother, church worker, choreographer, and writer, she has loved learning how God's grace pours into our lives in the midst of our weakness.
When she isn’t wrestling with words, Sharon enjoys speaking to conferences, retreats, and church groups. She and her family make their home in the mid-western United States.
Read an Excerpt
MY MOM WAS FREAKING OUT.
She stared out the dining room window as if major-league monsters were hiding in the darkness beyond the glass. Give me a break. Our neighborhood was as boring as they come. Ridgeview Drive's square lawns and generic houses held nothing more menacing than basketball hoops and tire swings. Still, Mom's back was tight, and in the shadowed reflection on the pane, I could see her biting her lip. I wanted to crack a joke and chase the fear right out of the room, but I couldn't think of anything to say.
I ducked back into the kitchen and wiped off the counters. Clumps of flour turned to paste and smeared in gunky white arcs across the surface. I shook the rag over the garbage can, the mess raining down on the other debris we'd swept up. Broken jars of pasta and rice filled the bag. Our dented toaster lay on top, looking like it had been drop-kicked across the room. I stomped all the garbage down, twist-tied the bag, and jogged it out to the trashcan by the garage. Usually I hated taking out the trash. Not tonight. Maybe if I erased the signs of our intruders, Mom would relax a little.
So Cameron and Medea dropped a few things when they searched for supplies. No biggie. Why did my folks have such a problem with those two anyway? They'd been great to me. I trudged back into the house, rubbing my forehead. Wait ... that wasn't right. A shiver snaked through my spine. Never mind. They were probably long gone by now.
"Kitchen's done." I carried the broom into the dining room, hoping Mom had finished cleaning in there, but she was still hugging her arms and staring out the window.
She turned toward the china cabinet, then squeezed her eyes shut as if they hurt. "Why?" she whispered.
Glass shards jutted from one cabinet door, and the other hung crooked with wood splinters poking out. Broken china covered the floor. Mom and Dad had collected those goofy teacups ever since they married.
I pushed the broom against the edge of the fragments, but the chinking sound made her wince, so I stopped. Dad strode past with an empty garbage bag and stopped to give Mom a squeeze. He nodded toward me. "Honey, Jake's alive. Nothing else matters. We all got back safe." He leaned his head against hers, and I edged toward the kitchen in case they started kissing. For an old married couple, they were a little too free with their public displays of affection.
But my mom didn't look like she was in a kissing mood — not with her lips pressed together like that. I had a sneaking suspicion she was more freaked out about what had happened to my hand than to our house. Like when I had cancer as a kid. She'd stressed about the details of a church fund-raiser and become cranky about everything that went wrong — unimportant stuff. It gave her a place to be angry when she was being brave about a bigger problem.
"It's only a piece of furniture." Dad was doing his soothing voice. When would he catch on that it only made things worse?
"Only a piece of furniture we bought as a wedding gift to each other." She swiped at some wet spots on her face. "Only twenty years' worth of poking around garage sales and thrift stores together. Don't tell me what it's only, okay?"
"Okay." Dad backed away from her prickles.
I made another ineffectual push with the broom. My folks didn't argue much, but when they did, it grated like a clutch struggling to find third gear. Maybe it was because I was an over-responsible firstborn, but when they fought, I always longed to make them run smooth again, if I could just figure out how.
Mom picked up a Delft saucer — what was left of it — and laid the pieces gently into the garbage bag. Dad folded his arms and leaned against the high back of a chair. "I can repair the cabinet. That splintered door will need to be replaced, but the other one just needs new hinges. I can put in new glass." His eyes always lit up when he talked about a woodworking project. The man loved his tools.
Mom smiled at him. Her tension faded, and she got all moony-eyed, so I ducked into the kitchen just as the doorbell rang. Thank heaven. "Pizza's here!" I yelled.
Dad paid the delivery guy, and I carried the cartons into the living room. Flopping onto one end of the couch, I pried open a lid. "Hey, who ordered green peppers? Mom, you've gotta quit ruining good pizza with veggies."
That made her laugh. "We'd better save a few pieces for the other kids." She cleared the Legos off the coffee table and handed me a napkin.
I gladly surrendered the top pizza box, along with the gross green peppers, and dove into the pepperoni below. "Where is everyone?"
"Karen's spending the night at Amanda's — trying out her new driver's license. Jon and Anne are at Grandma's. But if they see the pizza boxes when they get home tomorrow ..."
I nodded. "Yep. Pure outrage. I can hear it now: 'It's not fair. Jake always gets to have extra fun.'" I did a pretty good impression of the rug rats. What would the kids think if they found out what else they had missed? This had been the strangest Saturday the Mitchell family had ever seen.
I popped open a can of soda. My third. Hey, I'd earned some extra caffeine. "So what do we tell the kids?"
Mom smiled and looked me up and down, probably thinking I was one of the kids. When would it sink in that I was an adult now? I guzzled a third of my pop and set it down with a thump. "We could tell them there was a burglar, but then they'd want to help the police solve the case, and they'd never stop asking questions."
"Good point." Mom licked sauce from her finger. "Jon and Anne would break out the detective kit you gave them for Christmas."
Dad tore a piece of crust from his slice of pepperoni. "If we finish cleaning everything, I don't think they'll pay much attention. The cabinet is the only obvious damage. If they ask, we'll just say it got bumped and fell."
Dad wanted us to lie? So not like him. Then again, when Kieran told me Dad wasn't originally from our world, I realized there were a lot of things he'd not been honest about. Now I was part of the family secret too.
He rested his piece of pizza on the cardboard box and looked at Mom. "Do we need to warn them?"
"Warn them?" She mumbled around a mouthful of melted cheese.
"In case Cameron and Medea come back." His voice was calm, but I suddenly had a hard time swallowing. Something cold twisted in me when he said their names. The same cold that had numbed my bones when I'd woken up in the attic. Why? They'd taken care of me. No ... they'd threatened me. Confusing images warred inside my brain.
"You think they'll come back?" My baritone went up in pitch, and I quickly took another sip of pop.
Dad didn't answer for a moment. "It depends on why they came. If they plan to stay in our world, we need to find them — stop them. But my guess is that Cameron wants to return to Lyric with something from our world. That means they'll be back to access the portal."
Mom sank deeper into the couch and looked out the living room windows. At the curb, our family van shimmered beneath a streetlight.
They might be out there too. They could be watching us right this second.
"Maybe we should call the police." Mom's voice sounded thin. I'd suggested that earlier. After all, someone had broken in — well, broken out.
Dad snorted. "And tell them what?"
He had a point, but it's not like there's a rule book for dealing with visitors from other universes. Unless you attended Star Trek conventions.
"So what's your plan?" I asked.
"I'll get extra locks tomorrow. Maybe look into an alarm system." Dad believed every problem could be solved with his Home Depot credit card.
"And shades." Mom chewed the edge of a fingernail.
"We need some window shades."
He nodded, then turned to me. "What do you remember about your conversations with Cameron? What did he ask you about? What did he seem interested in?"
A shudder moved through me, and pain pulsed behind my eyes.
Mom gave Dad a worried glance, then rested a hand on my arm. "It's okay, honey. We don't have to talk about it right now." She smoothed my hair back from my face.
"No problem." I brushed her hand away, sprawled back on the couch, and studied the ceiling. "It just seems like it was all a dream."
"What's the last thing you remember clearly?" Dad pulled his chair closer and watched me.
"Braide Wood." I closed my eyes and smiled. "It reminded me of summer camp. And I was so tired of running and hiding in caves. I finally felt safe. Tara fussed over me, and I taught Dustin and Aubrey how to play soccer. It felt like home."
I struggled to recall the rest. My memories were tangled up, like the time I had a major fever and took too much cough medicine. Mom and Dad waited.
"I went to see Morsal Plains with Tara. Brutal. The grain was all black, and it smelled weird. Tara told me about the attack — how Hazor poisoned it on purpose and how Susan the Restorer led the army to protect Braide Wood." I slitted my eyes open and looked sideways at my mom. They'd told me she had ridden into battle with a sword. "Unbelievable."
Even though she was watching me with a worried pinch to her eyes, she smiled. "I know. I lived it, and it's hard for me to believe."
"Anyway, I hiked back to Tara's house, and some guys came to take me to Cameron. He made a big fuss over me. Said it was his job to welcome guests to the clans. Said I'd run into bad company, but he'd make it up to me. He gave me something to drink, and there was this lady. She was amazing." No matter how fuzzy my memories were, Medea was easy to remember: the long curly hair, the sparkling green eyes, the dress that clung to all the right places. My cheeks heated. "I can't remember everything we talked about. She made me feel important, like I wasn't just some teenage kid. It was ..." I sat taller and angled away from my parents, my jaw tightening. "She helped me realize that no one else had ever really understood me. I wanted to become a guardian. I had an important job to do."
"Jake." Dad's voice was sharp, and I flinched. "The woman you met was a Rhusican. They poison minds. Don't trust everything you're feeling right now."
A pulsing ache grabbed the base of my neck. I pressed the heels of my hands against my eyes. Mom's hand settled on my shoulder, and I stiffened. Weird static was messing with my head.
"Jake, they used you to find the portal. She doesn't really understand you." Mom's voice was quiet and sounded far away. I felt as if I were falling away inside myself. She squeezed my shoulder. "Remember my favorite psalm?"
I managed a tight smile. "How could I forget? You made us learn the whole thing one summer: 'O Lord, you have searched me and you know me,' blah, blah, blah."
Despite my smart-aleck tone, the words took hold, and some of the static quieted.
"What's the rest?" Dad pressed me.
What was he trying to prove? That I couldn't think straight? I could have told him that. I struggled to form the words.
"You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways." Once I got started, I rattled off the verses by rote. In some strange way, the words actually stopped the sensation of falling away inside myself.
"Sounds like there's someone who understands you a lot better than Cameron and Medea. Remember that." Dad stood up and tousled my hair. Then he yawned. "Let's get some sleep."
Mom didn't move. She was still watching me. "How's the hand?" I rubbed my palm. "Still fine. Weird, huh?" I held it out.
A scar, faint as a white thread, marked the skin where broken glass had cut a deep gash an hour earlier. My heart gave a weird double- thump. What did it mean?
Dad shook his head. "Come on. Bedtime."
Mom hesitated but then stood and gave me a quick kiss on the forehead. "Good night, Jake. We'll talk more tomorrow."
Oh, great. She sure loved talking. I looked at Dad. His mouth twitched. "I'll get us signed up at the fencing club."
Good — he hadn't forgotten his promise. I couldn't make sense of my trip through the portal or the sudden-healing thing, but I knew I wanted to learn to use a sword.
My parents gathered up the pizza stuff and carried it to the kitchen — out of sight but not out of earshot.
"If we hide the portal stones, Cameron and Medea won't be able to go back," Dad said over the crinkling of aluminum foil.
Someone slammed the fridge door shut hard enough to make the salad dressing bottles rattle. "We don't want them running around our world. They don't belong here." Mom's voice was a pitch sharper than usual.
"I know. We have to send them back. But on our terms. Without anything that would hurt the People of the Verses. And what about Jake?"
Silence crackled, and I leaned forward from my spot on the couch.
When Mom refused to answer, Dad spoke again, so quietly that I almost couldn't hear. "We need to keep the portal available in case he's needed there. But how will we know?"
Needed there? Did he really think ...?
I waited for them to head back to their bedroom, then slipped down the steps from the kitchen to the basement. Most of the basement was still unfinished — except for my corner bedroom and Dad's workbench.
I hurried into my room and shut out the world behind me. Tonight everything looked different — the movie posters, the bookshelves, the soccer trophy. Smaller, foreign, unfamiliar.
I pulled a thumbtack from my bulletin board and scratched it across my thumb. A line of blood appeared, but in a microsecond the tiny scrape healed completely. I had assumed the healing power was some heebie-jeebie thing that Medea had given me or that had transferred from my interactions with Kieran.
But now that my head had stopped throbbing, I could piece it together. Excitement stronger than caffeine zipped around my nerve endings. My folks thought this was more than a weird effect from my travels through the portal. They thought I might be the next Restorer.CHAPTER 2
WATER SPRAYED LISTLESSLY from the hose as I offered our geraniums a little encouragement in the August heat. The warm scent of grass clippings rose frovm the lawn. I used to enjoy gardening, but today my spine felt spider legs creeping up and down each nerve — the sensation of being watched.
I turned off the hose. Without rolling it up, I hurried into the kitchen and reactivated the alarm system.
Don't know why I bother. Cameron and Medea are long gone. And what good does a security system do when our family is struggling from the inside out?
Weeks had passed since our return through the portal. We'd tried to settle back into normal life, but I still looked over my shoulder at the grocery store and scanned the crowds at Jon and Anne's summer soccer-league games. Karen was annoyed when we made an earlier curfew, and she kept setting off the new alarm system because she couldn't remember to punch in the code.
Mark and Jake joined a fencing club and talked the owner into letting them stay after class to "practice." That's when Jake's real training occurred. I joined them occasionally, borrowing a long sword from the wall. I no longer had Restorer power and speed, but my muscle memory still appreciated the feel of a balanced blade in my hand. Training gave my mind a break from the tight knot of worry that twisted and frayed inside of me.
I thought I was mentally ready for anything, but what actually happened was worse than all the scenarios I had imagined: Nothing.
Mark hunted through our neighborhood and found no sign of Cameron and Medea. I jumped at every creak in the house, every rattle of a breeze at our windows. Each morning, my first thoughts revolved around protecting our family. I began to think my nerves would snap.
And still nothing happened.
The passing weeks had revealed a sad truth: We'd found our way back through the portal, but we couldn't find our way back to normal.
I rifled through the stack of mail on the counter. A postcard from North Woods Bible Camp grabbed my attention:
Mom, I got to canoe today and we have pop every day. But Jon's in trouble cuz his cabin threw water balloons at the counselors. I knew he wouldn't tell you, so I did.
My smile flickered, then faded as the heavy quiet of the empty house settled around me. No children hovered nearby, forcing me to pretend everything was fine. Karen had left for her band tour, and the young ones were at camp. The summer days stretched like long pale shadows. When I most needed activity, everything had slowed. I used to love these rare, empty days. Now I dreaded them.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Restorer's Journey"
Copyright © 2012 Sharon Hinck.
Excerpted by permission of Third Day Books, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'm still not a fantasy fan but this is one series that I have enjoyed thoroughly. This is mainly due to Sharon Hinck's writing and her ability to suck you into the story even if you are totally unfamiliar with the genre, like myself. The story picks up right where The Restorer's Son left off it's a shocker right from the beginning. Two from the other world have now come into our world and the Mitchell family has to figure out a way to get them out. Mishap and mayhem occur as Mark, Susan and Jake do their best to return to Lyric. I would have liked a bit more time seeing how the outsiders fared in our world but it's not really an issue. When returning to Lyric, the family faces obstacles and consequences they didn't expect and find themselves amidst another battle that will threaten the lives of all those they have come to love. Lyric is like another Middle Earth or another Narnia. It's a world that Sharon has completely created. I normally shy away from fantasy because it's hard for me to grasp different worlds in relationship to our own world. I did have problems with this in the beginning of this series but by the time this book came around, I was totally able to accept the idea of Lyric. There were some parts that I did feel drag on a bit. This was mainly during the scenes where the characters were waiting for action. It wasn't boring, just felt like there was a lull in the scene and in the reading. The ending also left me a bit hanging. I understood why it had to happen, yet at the same time I could foresee problems trying to explain the situation. It didn't seem like an easy way out to end the story yet at the same time I felt like something else could have happened. Either way, I would love to see a return to this series in the future. Sharon has done an excellent job of making non fantasy fans enjoy the fantasy world and stretch both their imagination and reading tastes.
This book was a great addition to the Sword of Lyric series. I hope there will be another one.
Sharon Hinck has taken her readers on another grand journey. Check your schedule before opening the book, you'll need a few clear days because you will not want to stop reading until the end! Susan, Mark, and Jake return from Lyric to pick life back up where they left off. Despite the fact they know Cameron and Medea traveled through the portal also, they haven't seen or heard from them in three months. Just as they allow themselves a sense of security, their house is invaded. Cameron and Medea abduct Susan and take her back through the portal with them. Mark and Jake must follow. Back in Lyric again, Jake finds things very different, and his mom has disappeared. Jake must learn the meaning of the Restorer power flowing through his body and understand that following the One is not an easy task. Susan also must find the well of faith within her and she faces worse trials than ever before from an enemy that threatens to destroy her spirit and very soul. Sharon Hinck skillfully takes the reader into a world of faith and fights, hatred and love, evil and good. And somehow, within the lives of Susan and Jake readers will see themselves and find their own journey to follow the One is filled with battles, betrayals, challenges and growth. What an amazing book. I suggest you read all three of the Sword of Lyric books. They will leave you hoping for another.
Before Susan, Mark and their eighteen years old son Jake use the portal to return from the dimension of Lyric to their home on earth (see THE RESTORER¿S SON), Councilman Cameron and the Rhus Media (who can twist and poison the minds of her victims) they escape through the portal into our earth too. They disappear for several weeks before they return with packages and force Susan to get through the dimension corridor with them.------------ Mark is unable to use the portal, but Jake travels to the other world to rescue his mother. Jake has changed since the last time he was on the other side. Cameron claims to have records that say when Restorer appeared twice in a generation, the line ends. This is a lie because Jake is the new Restorer, a person sent to the One to fight for the people and help the guardians. While Jake seeks his mother and a plan to defeat Cameron and throw the Kahlarea out of Render, Susan is trapped in the land of Rhus where Medea¿s protégé tries his best to beak her by crawling through her mind.------------ Anyone who has felt the darkness close in on them while also feeling rage and despair should read THE RESTORER¿S JOURNEY. Susan and Jake feel all that and more, but they draw on the strength from the One and in their hearts and refuse to allow evil to win. Sharon Hinck writes fantasy that takes the audience to a special magical place where faith is the cornerstone of life. Those who fail to adhere to that philosophy end up destroying themselves from inside their souls to their physical presence.--------------- Harriet Klausner