Hadde, the huntress for her village of Long Meadow, struggles to find enough food to feed everyone. The forest is dying, the animals have disappeared and the Wasting continues its relentless march through the province of Landomere. During a hunting trip, she comes upon a golden token in the Spiridus Glade and hope blooms in her heart. Along with a friend, she embarks on quest to sell the token and buy food and supplies for the starving villagers. What she doesn’t realize is that the token is one of the ancient Spiridus Tokens and her simple quest to save her village morphs into a quest to save the world.
Hadde is a strong and well-developed heroine. She is proud of her heritage, that is, until she reaches King Boradin and his Saladoran court. The nobles treat her with contempt and call her uncivilized. It is only when Prince Morin starts to pay attention to her that she is treated with a modicum of respect. Throughout the book, the author kept Hadde true to herself and her uniqueness. His portrayal of her throughout the epic is masterfully written. It was easy to root for her to succeed in her quest.
Mr. Heppe painted a world that was easy to understand, from the breathtaking beauty of the Spiridus Glade to the ugliness of the Wasting that was destroying everything in its path. The action never stopped and just when you think you’ve got everything figured out, the author throws another curve into the mix.
The final battle was vivid and you’ll find yourself turning pages as quickly as you can to find out what happens next. I enjoyed 95% of the book immensely. It is a fantastic epic fantasy. Without going into any spoilers, I found the ending a little less satisfying. My attention was diverted at the last moment and the fate of some major players remains unknown. Perhaps this was on purpose as in all great epic fantasies, we must wait for the next volume to find out what happens next. Recommended.