by Deborah Hale

April 2004
ISBN: 0-373-80205-6
Reviewer Graphic Button LUNA Books
Trade Paperback

Another wonderful fantasy has hit the shelf from LUNA. Deborah Hale has already proven that she can write great historical stories. Now, she amazes us with her ability to touch our hearts in the realm of fantasy as well. The Wizard`s Ward is an incredible journey of faith and love.

Maura Woodbury has lived all her life under the sheltering arms of Langbard, a wizard versed in the arts of vitmagic. She has been his pupil and his family. Now, the time has come for her to accept her destiny and set foot on a path that will lead her far from home. This adventure will test her faith and her love with every step she takes. Unfortunately due to a tragic circumstance, Langbard will not be able to go with her.

Instead of the familiar comfort of the wizard, Maura gets the dubious protection of the outlaw, Rath Talward. Rath had promised to escort the wizard and Maura to their destination and he would do it if only to get out of the area. He knows that the Han, who are the oppressors and lords of Umbria, are searching for him. As he serves as guard and guide to Maura, all those beliefs that he scorns will come to a head and he’ll be forced to a decision.

For Umbria has been conquered. Its people are cowed and fearful of their masters. Yet some believe that there is hope. The “Waiting King” will be awakened by his queen and together they will free the country. Maura knows her destiny, yet she can’t help but find her heart reaching for the rough outlaw that has joined her quest.

Maura is a woman who truly comes into her own on the trail to find the “Waiting King”. She starts out as a sheltered innocent, but by the end, she knows what she is capable of and willing to do to save herself and those she loves. Yet it is Rath who captures this reader’s attention. A man who had become tough and hard by necessity, Rath changes and softens. His walls around his heart break down. He learns to trust in things that he can’t see or touch. He discovers the strength that faith can bring to someone. Though the ending is a little antic-climatic, it is truly the journey that makes this story as great as it is.

The Wizard`s Ward is a fantasy quest for faith and love through difficult times.

Reviewed in May 2004 by Jenni.

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