Imagine a lost isle, hidden behind magical doorways, caught between two worlds - the real world and an uncertain place of strange creatures and fantastical lands. Here, Robin Penmarch enjoys ordinary life, spending time with his friends and playing computer games whilst protected by extraordinary magic and brave knights in armour. But the dark forces of The Uncertain World are rising, and when Robin is unexpectedly chosen as apprentice to Quadehar the Sorcerer, he discovers the truth about himself and the threat to the Lost Isle. Soon Robin and his friends find themselves crossng over into The Uncertain World. There they face bandits, monsters and a shadowy enemy that will stop at nothing to capture the boy and his special powers.
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Grade 6-9-Robin Penmarch, 12, is an ordinary boy, with a gang of ordinary friends, who discovers that he has an extraordinary gift for magic. His talent is observed one night by Quadehar, a powerful sorcerer who immediately takes him on as an apprentice. Robin gradually accepts his talents under Quadehar's tutelage, and learns how to control the Graphems that hold the power to controlling the universe. His world is known as "The Lost Isle" and appears to be a refuge from "The Real World," which is clearly the world we know. There is also a third place, "The Uncertain World," where an evil known as "The Shadow" resides. It is there that Robin leads his friends in search of Agatha, a nasty classmate who has been kidnapped by monsters called Gommons. L'Homme has set himself up with an almost insoluble plotting problem as all of Robin's friends end up in separate places in this world. Readers find themselves jumping around among five separate plot lines as he attempts to reunite these young people. In spite of the title, Quadehar's primary function in this story is to appear suddenly in dramatic fashion to rescue Robin at various junctures. This book is larded with exclamation points, and the breathless descriptions of the action sound more appropriate to the "Hardy Boys" than to high fantasy: "They might still make it, but only by a hair's breadth!" This story may hold some appeal for ravenous fantasy readers, but others can and should pass it by.
Tim Wadham, Maricopa County Library District, Phoenix, AZ
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