Thorn knows he should not have run away from home. Determined to find his missing father, he left home only to be captured by a slave-trader. Now he can help neither his father nor his mother and younger siblings whom he left behind.
As though his luck could not get any worse, he is soon bought by Tyburn, the executioner of Castle Gloom in the land of the undead. He is pleasantly surprised, however, to find that Lady Lilith Shadow of Castle Gloom is not a vampire, but a young girl, the lone survivor of the House of Shadow. After the recent assassination of her family, she became ruler of Gehenna and is engaged to Gabriel Solar, son of Duke Solar. The arranged marriage purports to bring peace to the warring lands, but Lily wants no part with this arrogant young man.
Thorn is supposed to work in the stables, but after an attempt on Lily’s life and a confrontation with Gabriel, he becomes Lily’s confidant. Now they must try to prove that Gabriel is the would-be assassin before the wedding takes place.
A fast-paced, superficial and predictable plot makes this fantasy story a quick summer read for children who enjoy action and dialogue. Not much new here, including the glorification of dark magic and communication with the dead. Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles would make a much more substantive alternative for fantasy lovers.
A former teacher, Jennifer Minicus is currently a full-time wife and mother.