A hero, an aging magician, a farm boy, a noble daughter and a mad prince meet on the edge of a city of tents. So begins an intricate tale of a boy with a troublesome eye, who is capable of extraordinary things. Forced from home, twelve-year-old Heriot's unwilling steps lead to Diamond, first city of the Hoadara, who conquered his people generations before. By tradition, King and Hero share power in an uneasy alliance . . . and the resolution of their struggle will ultimately bring pain, terror, love and loss to the five who met that dusty day. Forced to serve the King as his magician, and strangely bound to Dysart, the mad prince, Heriot is isolated within the walls of Diamond, until he finds Cayley, a wild, ambiguous rat-of-the-city. Two lonely souls forge an unlikely friendship in the shadows of the city both are forced to call home. But when children become adults, childish games become deadly serious and when incipient madness erupts in chillingly violence Heriot is forced to explore the very heart of his magic. In this superbly cerebral fantasy for older readers, Margaret Mahy's masterwork will surprise and thrill with its exploration of darkness, and delight with her undisputed mastery of the language of the heart and soul.
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