The Gray Isles
Hemlock is a fisherman’s son with mysterious origins. Orphaned by the sea, he is sent to a conservatory in the far reaches of the Gray Isles to serve wizards, a fate that both fascinates and grieves him. Romantic, full of stories and adept with all things of the earth, Hemlock reaches adulthood bearing a deep-rooted conflict between earth and sea. When he begins to see visions of an enormous mythological sea serpent, he gets on the bad side of an inexplicably aggressive wizard named Eadred, a recluse with a black reputation. In reckless defiance, Hemlock sets sail unseen, determined to validate his tale and escape the wizard’s shadow haunting his every step.
Lorth of Ostarin is a formidable wizard with a turbulent past. An elite assassin and servant of the old powers, he is given a mission by his masters to question Eadred, a high-ranking wizard banished for breaking the codes of his order. Lorth arrives in a fog of eerie impressions to find Eadred missing and presumed to have sailed after a servant named Hemlock, who angered him. When Lorth delves deeper, he finds secrets, legends, and the hearsay of island politics. He follows the two men under a pall of unease, hoping to bring a potentially disastrous situation under control. But on the water under a dark moon, he makes a monstrous discovery.
Some secrets are best kept hidden, and madness often hides wisdom. After a harrowing encounter at sea, Hemlock washes up on the shore a different man than he left it. Doubting his sanity, his very existence, he seeks his childhood home for answers; but what he finds leaves him sprawled before his destiny, an inexorable force that cares nothing for his personal anguish.
Lorth, a consummate hunter, is hard on Hemlock’s heels—until he gets wind of Eadred’s whereabouts. In his quest to lift a curse responsible for his fall and subsequent exile, Eadred has gathered great knowledge of Hemlock’s origins. Through him, Lorth reaches the sobering conclusion that Hemlock is not what he seems, but something powerful enough to destroy the realm with a thought.
Unfortunately, Lorth is not the only wizard who has discovered Hemlock’s secret. The ancestral ruler of the isles, in an attempt to save his realm from annihilation, captures Hemlock and imprisons him. In his wrath and confusion, Hemlock unwittingly initiates a cataclysm. Racing time, Lorth must bare his sword against an army, violate discretion and risk his own stature in order to free Hemlock from the maelstrom of daimonic transformation before he unleashes the forces of earth and sea on the mortal world.
© F.T. McKinstry 2012. All Rights Reserved.