Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com
While the queen gives birth to twin heirs to the throne, King Gifre plays a card game with extremely high stakes -- land he wants against something very precious. A strange man escapes, followed by someone carrying one of the newborn twins, and then palace knights. Godleif observes it all and, for a price, offers information to Helle, the beautiful advisor to the king.
Years later a road-weary peddler travels through the same town, Remengart. He is "chosen" to battle in the name of King Gifre for the land he is still attempting to acquire. A battle no one has yet survived. In truth, Donnivus is the most expendable, and therefore the best choice for the villagers. He is dragged to the castle, where he catches the eye, and the sympathy, of Princess Mara.
Princess Mara still desperately misses the presence of her twin brother, even though he died at birth. The feeling is even more powerful recently. With her mother dead, her father virtually inseparable from Helle and consumed by the desire to acquire that piece of land, Mara has never been more lonely. Perhaps that is what draws her to Donnivus, and to all downtrodden people.
Before long Mara and Donnivus may be closer than they ever imagined. And it may take all of their strengths, battling separately and together, to regain what both have lost. They'll have to face dangers both known and unimaginable, as well as their own darkness, all in the hope of fighting another day.
All I can say is... wow. I know this is a somewhat vague synopsis, but so much happens so fast, and I don't want to spoil a second of it for you! This book grips you from the first page and doesn't let go. Everything starts to happen immediately, and continues at such a fast pace you barely have time to breathe! And it keeps going like that through the whole story. Putting down this book before you've finished it is not really an option. I can't wait to read more, and more, and more of this completely engrossing fantastical mythological adventure!