Reviewer, Kevin Denis, promises that his will be a “spoiler-free” review. This review was originally published on Random Reading and More. Reprinted with permission.
It is rare that I pick up a fantasy title off the shelf and find myself transported into the realm and its surroundings as easily as I have with Thomas Locke’s “Legends of the Realm” series. For me, only C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia” has come anywhere this close.
Locke’s second novel in the series, Merchant of Alyss, begins with Hyam still mourning the loss of his abilities as a mage. However, the loss of those abilities does not keep him from answering the call when amphorae containing ancient scrolls are found that lead him on a quest to prevent a war that could destroy the lands.
Joining him on this adventure are his wife/lover, Joelle; Meda, captain of the guard who was knighted following the Battle of Emporis.
In addition, Locke introduces several new characters, including Corporal Alembord of the guard; Shona, daughter of a scribe and distant cousin to the Earl of Oberon; Fareed, a mage; and Selim, who acts as caravan master and whose past hints at more mystery.
Merchant of Alyss shows Locke’s skill as an author as he weaves action, adventure, and characterization into a fine-tuned narrative that zips along. The author’s gift for story-telling is such that readers will have no trouble feeling the depths of Hyam’s grief in not having his magical ability, nor will they feel like they are on the sidelines when the battle rages.
Once again, Thomas Locke has me eagerly waiting for the next novel in the series.