After his guardian dies, Maurey is reduced from student to unpaid servant at his grammar school and bullied because of his black hair and eyes, which make him look as if he is related to the sorcerers who once inhabited the island. When it is discovered that Maurey is indeed a descendant of one of those sorcerers, or Nightwalkers, he is sentenced to be burned alive. He and his young rescuer flee for the Nightwalkers' hidden kingdom.
"Johansen creates an elaborate world populated by complex characters...Readers will look forward to the sequel."-- (04/01/2007) "The fast-paced adventure, compelling characters and conflicts that make sense will reward readers of this fully-realized fantasy."--Booklist (03/01/2007) "All I can say is WOW!...Amazingly well-developed and imagined...intelligent and witty."-- (03/01/2007) "Fantasy fans who favor rich settings are likely to find [the main character's] quest through dangerous landscapes...compelling."-- (04/01/2007) "Johansen has created a world and a cast of characters that I thoroughly enjoyed journeying with."--Resource Links (04/01/2007) "A fast-paced adventure story...The main characters are multi-dimensional and should appeal to readers of either gender. Highly recommended."-- (04/13/2007) "The vaguely medieval fantasy past...gives [Johansen] a chance to use both her background as a medieval scholar and her fascination with The Lord of the Rings."--Quill & Quire (06/01/2007) "Filled with pathos, humor and plenty of action, this should satisfy most YA fantasy readers...Sure to bring requests for the next in the series."-- (07/01/2007) "The book is fantastical - set in medievalish worlds, with magical beings - but it is also quite realistic in the telling. Characters use magic as a tool, but they are forced to struggle and work for their goals, and magic does not become a prop to them. I really enjoyed this book."-- (05/06/2007) "Remarkably easy to get into and straight-forward. The characters of Maurey and Annot were interesting and relatable, and I liked the book's theme of acceptance."-- (02/23/2014)