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Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 02/01/2009 Thirteen-year-old Tormod has no idea that agreeing to do a small favor for a Templar knight will change his life forever. Delivering the knight’s message leads to saving a life, which in turn leads to being taken on as an apprentice, and ultimately to becoming the sole carrier of an object that can save or destroy the world, depending on who controls it. If it all seems like a lot, Tormod clearly thinks so too, musing often that he is just a small-town boy, even as his external dialogue is mostly blustery confidence and overeager presentation. Already taxed by the need to harness the power of his precognitive visions and to develop fighting skills, he finds himself in a series of life-threatening events as he travels with a knight who is wanted dead and flees from folks who will interrogate, torture, or even murder anyone who stands in the path of that mission. Alexander, the knight with whom Tormod is allied, is a complex and accessible mix of courage, fear, and defiance in the face of insurmountable odds. Unfortunately, Tormod is not quite up to the pairing, and he will likely exasperate readers (how many times must he get caught eavesdropping before either giving it up or learning to do it better?) more than inspire empathy in them. In addition, there is little exposition offered to aid unfamiliar readers in understanding the context of Templar knights, or even the larger cultural and political climate of the early fourteenth century in which characters fulfill their destinies. However, those already well versed in these subjects can fill in the gaps, and they are the audience likeliest to enjoy this rapid-fire adventure. AS - Copyright 2009 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2009 Gr 6–9— It is 1307 in Scotland, and 13-year-old Tormod is rushing through the night to fetch a tinderbox to light the Beltane fire for his village when a Knight Templar interrupts his errand to send him on another that is even more pressing. Tormod spends the entire tale rushing from one place to another in the company of Sir Alexander as they follow a map without knowing what lies at the end and are pursued by the French king's soldiers. The constant chase is exciting at first but begins to grind, particularly after Tormod loses two toes in a mishap and must still continue his flight on foot. The historical setting is well drawn, and additional interest is added by visions that both Tormod and Alexander receive, although the images seem to be invariably of death and doom. Their dialogue is written in a pseudo-brogue, so there are many examples of "ye" and "o'" (for "of") but otherwise their speech is modern. The visions and the Templar theme may interest readers but they may be drawn up short at the cliff-hanger ending.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI - Copyright 2009 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.