Edmund is the privileged son of a king, travelling cautiously in disguise. Elspeth is the fierce daughter of a shipmaster, working proudly at her father’s helm. Their paths are thrown together when they are the only survivors of a terrible shipwreck.
All they want is to return home. But they learn that an evil warlord plans to destroy their homeland, and discover that they each possess mysterious powers significant in the fight against him. And so, aided by a learned old man and accompanied by an enigmatic minstrel, the children are forced to comply with destiny.
Edmund and Elspeth narrate alternate chapters, creating a read which should appeal equally to both boys and girls.
A. J. Lake’s historical knowledge of the Dark Ages means that the ancient British setting is well realised; perceptive details woven subtly and consistently throughout the tale give us a satisfying feel of the texture of their daily lives.
Though ‘the dragons are coming’ we don’t encounter many throughout the story (we get just a brief glimpse of the one who caused the shipwreck at the beginning of the book). The conclusion foretells more dragon action in the next book, as well a quest to defeat a malevolent god.
Which means that fantasy fanatics who enjoy this story should be left eager to read the next in The Darkest Age series.