this book was definitely a 4 star book. I have heard tell the sequel was better but as I haven't read it I cannot say. The ONE thing that stopped this book from being a five star book was that it was a wee bit boring towards the middle. The romance with the Duchess went on FOREVER, I can't tell you how relieved I was when he finally came to his senses.wewh.
A summary of this book would be: Tristam, a naive but educated man is called from his peaceful life so he could be of service to the King, whose very life depends opona plant's amazing healing powers. But alas, this plant was slowly dying out. Tristam's friend and mentor Professor Dandish died. With his death Tristam discovers that the Duchess, a completly irrisistable woman who is the favorite of the king, had hired Dandish to look into Tristams problem years ago. Dandish left Tristam a message, torn in half, that said Dandish had discovered an answer, and knowing something Tristam couldn't guess at, had destroyed his plants. The Duchess and Tristam embark on a 2 year voyage to get Kingfoil from it's original land. On the way Tristam notices that there is a white hawk following him. The main part of the crew of the ship think him a mage and it doesn't help things that his uncle was himself rumored to be one. Tristam discovers that he does indeed have a spark of something, although of what he is not sure:end of summary.
The political intrigues of this book are astonishing as is the complex plot of this book. There are characters we know nothing about, only that they serve a purpose, but it is that foreplanning that makes me envious of this writers talent.This book is great and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes science-fiction and fantasy.
Note: this book is a cliffhanger so buy the second book along with the first.