Mahy is an accomplished writer for young people and this latest fantasy offering does not disappoint. Besieged by headaches and nightmares throughout his childhood, Heriot is initially regarded as a sickly child. It becomes apparent, however, that he holds magical powers and the ability to see the thoughts of others. He becomes magical consul to the King of Diamond whose ambition is to create a peaceful society across his realm but is thwarted in so doing by the actions of his sons.
Control of power and knowledge to learn about its use are driving forces in the book. It’s possible to become totally immersed in the reach-out-and-touch world that Mahy creates. Even the ideas that seem most remote from our sense of logic are entirely convincing and credible and the political motivations that drive the characters make it possible to engage fully, if not always to respond immediately to this exceptionally lyrical piece of writing.