Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Lost Gate

Having read all of the books in Orson Scott Card's Enderverse series, I was curious to read something else that he had written. When I saw the pair of novels that belong to his so-called Mither Mages series, The Lost Gate and The Gate Thief, I decided to check them out. The first book, The Lost Gate, introduces us to the North clan, a family of wizards or mages that live a secluded existence. Each of the family members exhibits a special skill with some aspect of nature, such as the ability to control fire or wind. The North family was once one of several dominant wizard families on Earth, whose most powerful members were worshipped as gods through the ages. However, more than a millenium ago, a gatemage named Loki closed all of the portals between Earth and Westil. It is the passage back and forth between these two worlds that heightens the power of the mages. With the portals closed for so long, the mages are now graced with nothing more than the magic to perform low-level tricks.

The mage clans are ever vigilant for the appearance of another gatemage with enough power to open up a gate back to Westil. Should such a wizard appear he could give one family powers and control far beyond the others. The fragile truce between the mage clans is predicated on a number of understandings, one of which is that anyone with the ability to control gate magic is killed. Danny North is a 12 year old boy who seems particularly ordinary, lagging behind the training of his even younger cousins. However, he suddenly comes to learn that he is, in fact, a gatemage with some potential. Being young and excited about his newfound abilities, he does not take sufficient care to hide his skills. In order to survive he makes the decision to go into hiding and to find allies who will not only protect him, but help to train him.

Over the period of several years we follow Danny as he begins to grow into his powers and survives an encounter with the Westil gatemage Loki who had originally closed all the gates to Earth. The family histories are not clear why Loki closed the gates. It had come to be accepted that he was a mere prankster, but we begin to understand that he may have done this to protect both worlds. As Danny continues to learn who he is and what he can do, he must try to understand why the gates were originally closed and to stay out of the clutches of the mage families who want to use him so that they can claim control of the world. Now, onto the second part of the story in, The Gate Thief.