Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Highwayman

The Highwayman is a book set in three different sections,
each ten years apart. The first third is about Bran Dynard,
a monk of Abelle. He is married to a native of the southern
land of Behr. Her beliefs are similar but not identical to
his own, so the church of Abelle refuses her as his wife.
He won't make her leave, however. Sen Wi, his wife, is
pregnant with a child, but she must hide to avoid being
killed. When she gives birth, she dies during childbirth.
Her book of teachings, the book of Jhest, is thought to be
destroyed, so the church believes it is safe. Bran then
makes a pilgrimage to the northern Chapel of Abelle, but is
killed along the way. Their son, Bransen, is raised by his
friend Garibon Womak. Ten years later, the story is about
Bransen, a cripple since birth, who is taken care of by
Garibond. After a while, however, Bransen is given to the
church, who are paid with a sword crafted by Sen Wi.
Bransen had taught himself to read and had read the Book of
Jhest before he went to the chapel. He copied it onto the
walls, but the monks recognized it. They went to Garibond's
house and found the book. It was destroyed, and Garibond
burned for heresy. The politics at this point are unstable.
The Laird of Pryd, where the story takes place, is forced
to align himself with a greater holding in the coming war.
As he cannot continue his line due to a wound from battle, a
choice is forced upon him. Also, the two major religions,
the Blessed of Abelle and the Samhaists, are vying for
supremacy. Ten years later, Bransen learns of his mother's
sword in the possession of the Laird and of the death of
Garibond. He adopts the name "The Highwayman" and uses a
sacred soul stone stolen from the monks to heal his crippled
body. But will Bransen use his newfound freedom for just
vengeance, or to his own gain? Read The Highwayman to find out.

At some points, The Highwayman was great, at others slow.
Once you're into the book, however, it's hard to put down.
The advancement of the story over ten years is a bit
confusing at first, but it all adds to the overall quality.
This was a great book that I would advise to any and all
fantasy readers.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Violence, sexual references

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambers