Kellen Tavadon, the son of the Arch-Mage Lycaelon of Armethalieh is forced to flee from the Outlaw Hunt, a pack of stone mastiffs after he is found to be practicing the forbidden art of Wild Magic. He is helped in his flight by a unicorn that comes to his aid when he asks the Wild Magic for help, unfortunely this isn't enough and he still has to make a stand and fight. With the help of his unicorn companion Shalkan he is able to fight off not one but two packs of mastiffs; yet in the fight he is badly injured and has to be taken to a local wildmage for healing. This wildmage turns out to be his sister that was banished years before and who's memory has been erased from his mind by their father. When he is healed sufficiently they make their way to the elven capitol city where they realized that their help is desperately needed. They learn that the ancient enemy of the elves, the Endarkened(a race of demons), has diverted the seasonal rain from elven lands and only Wild Magic can counter the dark magic that the endarkened are using to cause the drought. Idalia creates an item of sufficient power using Wild Magic to right the forces of nature, but it will take her brother and the elven knight Jermayan to take the item of power to the source of the dark magic. Along the journey it become apparent that Kellen is a rare knight-mage that only shows up in the times of greatest crisis and they will need all the help that they can get if their mission to Shadow Mountain is to be a success.
This report prepared by Steven Vanzant
Tor, Oct 2003, 25.95, 608 pp.
Though only seventeen, the expectations for Kellen Tavadon, as the son of the Arch-Mage Lycaelon, are extraordinary. He has spent his life training in the High Magic trying to live up to what everyone anticipates he will achieve. Still his studies makes him wonder if that is all there is though Kellen is proud of his father and the other members of the sage Council of Mages as they guide the lives of the occupants of the Golden City of the Bells, Armethalieh.
While skipping his lessons, Kellen finds three forbidden books. These are the Books of Wild Magic. Unable to resist though he knows Wild Magic extracts a high personal payment from its user, Kellen begins studying his find. However, his sire learns what Kellen has done and exiles his son but after Kellen leaves, Lycaelon sends the Golems to kill him. As the teen discover a world of magic in which females even partake and centaurs and unicorns live, he also struggles to survive while wondering if the myth of the evil ones is true too.
Though the first of a sword and sorcery trilogy, THE OUTSTRETCHED SHADOW may be the fantasy novel of the year. Besides a tremendous opening gamut, this epic fantasy novel provides a strong conclusion (not the typical salami slice ending), but leaves enough threads to tease readers anticipating the next novel. Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory chronicle a great tale that will provide the duo much acclaim.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner