The first book in an epic fantasy series from debut author Cinda Williams Chima. Adventure, magic, war and ambition conspire to throw together an unlikely group of companions in a struggle to save their world. When 16-year-old Han Alister and his Clan friend Dancer encounter three underage wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea, he has no idea that this event will precipitate a cascade of disasters that will threaten everything he cares about. Han takes an amulet from one of the wizards, Micah Bayar, to prevent him from using it against them. Only later does he learn that it has an evil history-it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. And the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back. Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana'Marianna, the heir to the Gray Wolf throne of the Fells, has just spent three years of relative freedom with her father's family at Demonai Camp-riding, hunting, and working the famous Clan markets. Now court life in Fellsmarch pinches like a pair of too-small shoes. Wars are raging to the south, and threaten to spread into the high country. After a long period of quiet, the power of the Wizard Council is once again growing. The people of the Fells are starving and close to rebellion. Now more than ever, there's a need for a strong queen. But Raisa's mother Queen Marianna is weak and distracted by the handsome Gavan Bayar, High Wizard of the Fells. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea-the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. With the help of her friend, the cadet Amon Byrne, she navigates the treacherous Gray Wolf Court, hoping she can unravel the conspiracy coalescing around her before it's too late.
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Cinda Williams Chima began writing romance novels in middle school, which were frequently confiscated by her English teacher. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Heir series of young adult fantasy novels. A graduate of the University of Akron and Case Western Reserve University, Cinda has been a freelance writer and columnist for the Plain Dealer and other publications. Cinda has a marginal knowledge of popular culture, but she has never forgotten what it was like to be a teen. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two sons. Her new fantasy series, The Demon King, released in Autumn 2009.From School Library Journal:
Grade 7 Up—Han Alister was once a street thief and gang leader, nicknamed Cuffs for the magical silver cuffs he's worn for as long as he can remember. Now that he's reformed, he can't seem to escape from his past, and he spends much of his time hunting in the mountains with his clan friends. When he and his friend Fire Dancer meet a group of young wizards, Han comes into possession of a magical amulet linked to the legendary Demon King, not knowing that it will bring danger to him and his family. Meanwhile, Princess Raisa is soon to turn 16 and be named heir to her mother's throne. She becomes aware of intrigues that surround the queen, who seems to be strongly influenced by their country's High Wizard. Han's and Raisa's adventures and journeys toward understanding themselves run parallel throughout the book, intersecting only when the princess dresses up as a commoner and meets Han briefly. The conclusion leaves both Raisa and Han setting out on new adventures toward a common destination, leaving much to be resolved in their futures and in the future of their land. Chima shows a sure hand with details and history, and readers will be drawn into the lives of the two protagonists. Fans of magic, danger, and high fantasy will find a complex and involving world and be left waiting for the next volume in this exciting trilogy.—Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI
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