Stand-alone Valdemar yarn from the wife-and-husband team (The Silver Gryphon, 1996, etc.). Chronologically, this follows the events of Storm Breaking (not reviewed), but it's otherwise unconnected. Young orphan Darian lives on the edge of the vast Pelagiris forest. Though apprenticed to the wise old wizard Justyn, he's contemptuous of magic in general and unwilling to make the effort to develop his own talents. When invading barbarians burn the village and kill Justyn, Darian flees into the forest and meets the Hawkbrothers, a magical elflike race who bond with birds and bear such names as Snowfire, Starfall, and Nightwind. What ensues is a standard coming-of-age fantasy involving the usual Lackey and Dixon suspects (yes, of course, gryphons). Should entertain the more junior and unsuspecting sections of the audience.