A Touch of Magic
by: Gregory Mahan
Blurb: Book one of the Llandra Saga
What’s a young mage to do in a land where magic is illegal, and the penalty is death?
At the age of fourteen, Randall Miller is surprised to learn that he has the talent–for magic! Tricked into apprenticeship by a powerful Mage, Randall is forced to leave everything he knows behind.
When his mentor is killed by Aiden, head of the secret police, he flees for his life, stumbling from one misadventure into another. Teaming up with a trio of greedy traders and a capricious imp along the way, Randall must learn to master his budding power, or die at the hands of the Rooks!
Review: Randal Miller was a typical teen in a not so typical town. He was old enough, albeit just barely, to become an apprentice and thus begin his journey to adulthood. He could have stayed home and worked the mill with his father, but the ownership of that mill was already promised to his older brother Erik. Randal had no desire to be second fiddle to anyone, especially his older brother.
So Randal set out for the job fair. The fair came to Geldorn, a nearby town, once per year and provided the small rural town with amusement as well as opportunity for its youth. As usual he found the fair to be fun and exciting, but he was on a mission. He was determined to be hired as an apprentice before the fair was over.
Little did Randal know, his desire to become an apprentice would be his outdoing. He and his friend Bobby found themselves in the military circle with swords (wooden swords) learning how to fight. Randall was not good at it, in fact he was just plain bad at being a soldier. His humiliation worsened when Bobby managed to clobber him in the head knocking Randal out cold. Everyone saw and they all laughed at his expense.
With Bobby’s help they managed to get to Frank’s Inn. The duo was interrupted by an older gentleman named Earl, who invited himself to sit at their table. Randal had no idea who Earl was, nor did he care. But Earl not only new about Randal, he was determined to have him as an apprentice, too. It sounded good, till Randal realized that Earl was a mage. Magic was forbidden and punishable by death, so why would Earl admit to being a mage and why would he want Randal as his apprentice?
Mahan weaves a mystery around magic, Randal’s reluctant journey into the forbidden world of magic, and the horror of impending death should he be found out. I found the book to be an enjoyable read. It was a pleasure to take Randal’s journey with him, wondering how his young life would change as he discovered more about his gift of magic. Have recommended it to several friends.
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