The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Simon, an orphaned castle kitchen scullion, avoids his duties and spends his time dreaming of becoming a hero. He is apprenticed to Dr. Morgenes, the castle’s sorcerer, in an attempt to teach him to be industrious. When Prester John, the High King, dies, his elder son, Elias, takes over the throne. Elias is increasingly influenced by the evil priest Pyrates, lackey of the vengeful Storm King. Josua, the younger son, tries with Morgenes to halt the encroaching evil. Finally, they and their allies must search for the missing swords of prophecy to restore order to Osten Ard.

Morgenes dies as he helps Josua escape from his brother. Scared and alone, Simon must follow Josua to his holding in the north. Simon wanders through the woods until hunger drives him toward a town, where he saves a humanlike creature from a hunter. The creature is Jiriki, a prince of the fairy-folk Sithi. Jiriki rewards Simon with a white arrow, a mark of debt owed.

As Simon ponders the meaning of the arrow, the troll Binabik appears to help Simon on his way. They meet up with Melachias, another castle runaway. Binabik leads the two young people to Geloë’s house in the woods to rest and recuperate. She, along with Binabik, is a member of the League of the Scroll, a centuries-old group formed to gather knowledge and fight evil. Morgenes also had been a member. While at Geloë’s house, Melachias reveals herself to be Marya, a serving lady to the princess. She is...

(The entire section is 500 words.)