Sauvain’s (Collegium Sorcerorum: Thaddeus of Beewicke, 2011) second fantasy installment features a foursome of heralded, first-year Collegium students who discover their abilities through a series of unexpected adventures.
Talking statues, Lilyput the goblin and eerie laughter from the mysterious Minaret of Power welcome first-year students—Thaddeus of Beewicke, Anders of Brightfield and Rolland of Fountaindale—to the Collegium. While the first volume of Sauvain’s epic fantasy detailed the journey to the Collegium, the second depicts the young sorcerers as they learn hand-to-hand combat and grapple with hostile upperclassmen. Rolland, nicknamed “Prince of Thieves,” finds trouble from the start: He’s pinned to the wall by upperclassmen and later accosted by a demon for using sorcery on campus. Each time, ever-loyal Thaddeus comes to his brethren’s aid. Rolland’s knack for acquiring trouble adds flavor to the storyline, but the thief’s pronounced ability to stir trouble is also a catalyst that helps readers understand the depth of the main characters’ friendship. Dismayed by the popularity of their first-year peers, upperclassmen challenge Thaddeus and company to a game of “Pila Ludere”—a form of soccer using a dragon’s bladder—on Halloween night. Sauvain uses this match as an opportunity to introduce fairies and elves, who help even the odds against the older sorcerers. As the contest nears an end, Thaddeus blacks out and finds himself in a faraway land called “Locus Lapidum Pendentium,” or the place of hanging stones. The baffling history of this desolate region inevitably links the Minaret of Power, the Cin empire, Master Silvestrus and the Collegium. Perhaps the most intriguing deviation from Sauvain’s debut novel is the integration of Zoarr, Prince of Mauretesia, and his unique love–hate relationship with Rolland. Throughout the book, Zoarr, a member of the senior class, strives to prove his loyalty to Thaddeus, Anders and especially Rolland. While Sauvain’s strength is his ability to create dynamic characters, including animals such as talking bird Pscittica and golden dog Bellis, he leaves readers desiring more scenes that shed light on the mystery behind the Minaret of Power. Sauvain dedicates the last 50 pages to explaining the role of each character and clarifying the terminology.
A strong cast of characters and an intriguing storyline overshadow the sometimes abundant use of foreign terms known as “Lingua Imperatoria.”