The Broken Key #1
by Brian S. Pratt
ISBN-13: 9780595428250 (Trade Paperback)
Pub. Date: February 2007
Riyan Borenson of the small village of Quillim is a shepherd boy. His best friend is Chadric Kelon, son of the village miller. Together they have all sorts of high spirited adventures, but only in their daydreams. Life is rather mundane for Riyan and Chad. Tending sheep and grinding grain does not make for high adventure no matter how they might wish otherwise. Yet despite the calm in the little hamlet, Riyan has managed to acquire an enemy. Rupert, son of the village magistrate, is determined to make Riyan life miserable no matter what. To add insult to injury Rupert even gets engaged to Freya, the girl who Riyan suddenly realizes he loves.
Riyan distraught by this sudden announcement decides the best thing for him to do is take his sheep to some high pasture. There he will have time to sort things out, get over his anger and find a way to stop Freya from marrying Rupert. Meanwhile, Chad along with Bartholomew Agreani devise a plan to humiliate Rupert, but it only makes things worse for Riyan. Change is in the wind.
Up in the high pasture, one of Riyan’s sheep goes astray. While looking for the lost sheep, he finds the lamb in a hole in the ground. Despite the trouble the sheep has caused him, Riyan also finds a coin which will bring him and his friends back to this same place a few days later. Riyan, Chad and Bart stumble upon an ancient burial tomb, which they later learn is the fabled King’s Horde. Legend has it that this burial site holds a vast fortune. If Fate has brought them this far, Fate has also thrown them a curve. To gain access to the King’s Horde, they must first recover the segments of the key that will open the inscribed portal. One fragment of the key they find within the ancient burial tomb in the hand of a long dead thief. Finding the other segment of the key will take them deep into hostile goblin territory and a place where even goblins fear to tread.
Shepherd’s Quest is a fun, well paced novel that any Dungeon and Dragons gamer would love. It has all the elements of the game rolled into an adventure story about young lads looking for riches, fame and adventure. Parts of the book do get rather bogged down with the repetitive finding of chests, crypts and such. Once inside goblin territory the story picks up the pace and moves the reader right along with the uneasy, uncertain air that makes goblin territory so feared. Brian Pratt weaves a true Dungeon and Dragons type of story with this first book in the Broken Key Trilogy. Gamers should love this trilogy! —Mark Randell, Y-30 Staff