Robert Priest has written plays, songs, picture books, and poetry for young readers. His critically acclaimed fantasy novel Knights of the Endless Day was compared to the Narnia Chronicles. The first two novels in the Spell Crossed series are The Paper Sword and Second Kiss. He lives in Toronto.
The Paper Sword
A painted sword is their only protection from evil sorcery, strange creatures, and enemy forces.
On the spell-crossed Phaer Isle, teenage Xemion dreams of being a great swordsman. When he finds a blade-shaped stick, he fashions it to look like a real sword. Knowing that the laws of their cruel Pathan conquerors would require a death sentence for possession of such an object, his friend Saheli demands he destroy it. He agrees, but insists on performing just one sword ceremony. When his mastery of the weapon, a skill long forgotten, is witnessed by a mysterious man named Vallaine, the two friends are invited to join a planned rebellion. At first they refuse, but when a sadistic official discovers their transgressions, they are forced to flee their home and embark on a dangerous journey to the ruins of the ancient city of Ulde, where rebel forces are gathering.
Armed with only their wits and the painted sword, they face Thralls, Triplicants, dragons, rage-wraiths, and a host of other spell-crossed beings. As they approach the Great Kone, source of all spell-craft, Saheli’s fear of magic and Xemion’s attraction to it bind them in a crossed spell of their own — one that threatens to separate the two forever.
Where Priest excels is in his stellar construction of this visionary world and his enviable, sophisticated writing style.
Priest demonstrates considerable skill in creating his fantasy world: magic is real and spells can cross-react, producing such bravura set pieces as the city without friction . . .