In the year 1144, dark times have fallen over the kingdom. The evil Lord Manning rules through fear and magic, and the only hope seems to lie in a prophecy that a dragon speaker will appear. Yet there are no dragons, and no one who knows how to speak to them ... except, perhaps, young Jacob of Maldon. An exciting, thought provoking fantasy novel for readers ages 8-16.
Cheryl gives an overview of the book:
The bird voices were screaming. Their voices were so loud that Jacob thought his head would split open. Voices only he could hear.
Jacob gritted his teeth and kept walking. He felt his father watching him. He knew that his father was already frowning.
Jacob tripped, pain tearing through his weak leg. He fell and dropped the load of wood he was carrying.
“Not again!” Jacob’s father cried. “You’re useless! You’re good for nothing.” Then the old man muttered, “If only your brother was still alive … ”
Jacob’s father had been saying that ever since Jacob was five, though it felt like his whole life. Each time, the words cut into Jacob like a knife. Sometimes Jacob wished Lord Manning had killed him instead of his brother and mother. But Jacob wasn’t worth killing, or so his father said. The only thing Jacob could do was talk to birds. Not that his father knew about that. And what good was that, any way? Birds couldn’t help build carts or bridges.
Jacob ducked his head and bent to pick up the wood. His hands trembled.
“No. Leave it!” his father yelled.
Jacob clenched his fists and turned away, his eyes hot. The birds screamed again. The birds’ voices shot through Jacob like hundreds of nails being driven into his skull. The pain was worse this time. Jacob’s vision went black, blinding him.
Something was wrong with the birds. And he had to stop it. Jacob blinked, his vision clearing.
He limped toward the Great Forest. That’s where the bird voices seemed to come from.
“Boy! Where do you think you’re going?” his father yelled.
“I’m useless, remember?” Jacob shouted back. He kept limping forward.
Jacob cursed the weak leg that made him move so slowly. He was close, now. He could feel it.
Jacob stumbled to the edge of the trees. The forest floor was covered with birds - sparrows, finches, and crows … even a few blue jays. They just lay there, silent and still.
All of them were dead.
Jacob stared. The birds’ bodies were already stiff, though Jacob was sure they’d just died. Blood ran from their beaks, and their open eyes were glassy. Jacob hadn’t reached them in time.
Off to one side, Jacob heard a grating laugh. He looked up to see Kain—Lord Manning’s wizard—standing in the middle of the birds. The wizard’s black cloak rose around him, as if he controlled the wind. His mouth was curved in an animal grin, and his sharp teeth were bared. His arms were raised toward the treetops as if he were calling to them.
Jacob swallowed, his body growing cold. Of course the wizard had killed the birds. He always did the killing for Lord Manning. Jacob’s legs shook. Kain had killed Jacob’s brother and mother—and laughed while he did so. Now he had killed thousands of bird, and he was laughing again.
Kain turned his head toward Jacob.
Jacob shivered. He could see human teeth braided into the wizard’s hair. What kind of man would keep trophies from people he had killed?
The wizard locked gazes with Jacob. “Spying on me, are you boy?”
“No … no, sir,” Jacob whispered. He clenched his teeth. This murderer was alive while his brother and mother were dead.
I love to read. Books nurture me, helped me survive the abuse I endured as a child and teen. I also love to write. I write fantasy books and edgy, realistic fiction for teens.
My fantasy books often hold hope that I need, and feel others might need, too, while my...
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