A Perilous Power

Mass Market Paperback | September 1, 2004

byE. Rose Sabin, E. R Sabin

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Trevor Blake has always known he possessed magical gifts. But in the small farming town where Trevor lives with his family, the practice of magic is forbidden--and those who reveal their gifts are persecuted. So when his uncle tells him about the underground gifted Community in the city of Port-Of-Lords, Trevor and his best friend, Les Simonton, set off to find it. There, they hope to receive training in the use of their powers.

As soon as Trevor and Les arrive in Port-of-Lords, the trouble begins. Unwittingly, the boys become embroiled in a power struggle among the Community's members. Not sure of whom to trust or where to turn, Trevor and Les may be forced to call upon the most perilous power of all....

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Trevor Blake has always known he possessed magical gifts. But in the small farming town where Trevor lives with his family, the practice of magic is forbidden--and those who reveal their gifts are persecuted. So when his uncle tells him about the underground gifted Community in the city of Port-Of-Lords, Trevor and his best friend, Les...

E. Rose Sabin is a former teacher who now devotes her time to writing fantasy and science fiction. Her stories have won many awards and A School for Sorcery--her first novel--won the Andre Norton Gryphon award.She lives in Pinellas County, Florida, with her two dogs, B'Elana and Dax.

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Format:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 7.68 × 5.06 × 0.75 inPublished:September 1, 2004Publisher:Tom Doherty AssociatesLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0765347601

ISBN - 13:9780765347602

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17

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1A Change of DirectionTrevor Blake leaned against the kitchen wall, watching his mother slice beef and fit it into rolls hot from the oven. The yeasty aroma of the fresh-baked rolls, the spicy scent of cinnamon-laden pear tarts, the savory odor of the roast all conspired to distract him from his mother's lecture.Trevor, are you listening to me? she asked as she slipped the beef rolls into a box and held it out to him.Yes, Mom. Grinning, he accepted the box. You said to hurry, don't miss the bus, and be careful with my money. He hadn't heard any of that, but it was a safe guess.And be sure to get good, practical clothing. I know you want citified things so you won't stand out when you get to the university, but it's more important to get good material that will hold up and keep you warm through the winter.I'll remember.I doubt it. With a sigh, she wiped her hands on her apron. I wish I could go with you, but your father needs me here. Do try to be sensible for once.He laughed, knowing well what really kept her from coming with him. His father could have spared her for a day, but she was terrified of the newfangled buses, which had replaced horse-drawn coaches less than two years ago and which did indeed break down with alarming frequency. Planting a kiss on her cheek, he said, I'd better get going.Lands, yes. She glanced at the kitchen clock. It's getting late. You don't want to miss the bus.No, he didn't, but it rarely arrived on time, so he didn't hurry. The soft buzz of the bees in the honeysuckle and the rich scent of the blossoms hanging in the still air infected him with laziness, so that he strolled slowly down the dusty lane. The sun-baked sand burned his feet through the soles of his shoes. The heat of late summer had driven most folks indoors or at least into a shady part of their fields. In spite of the cloudless sky, a rain dove cooed a distant prophecy of rain. Trevor felt so much a part of this familiar summer scene that he was struck by the sudden impression that the lane and the whole village would vanish when he left.He had long dreamed of leaving, but now the nearness of that day filled him with sadness. When he was gone, the village would not be what it had been. It was as much a product of his making as he was of it. Up ahead was the Widow Marsh's gate and fence he and his friend Les had painted and repaired last fall. Over the fence on the other side of the lane he could see the row of young poplars he and his father had helped Farmer Croftley plant for a wind-break a few years ago. If he looked behind him he could see in the distance the belfry of the old schoolhouse where he and Les had learned to read and write and do sums and coax a tale from the teacher and smuggle a fat toad into the desk of the giddiest girl and stop up the chimney with rags on a cold day so the smoke would pour back into the room and the pupils would have to be sent home until the damage could be repaired. He had often felt the sharp sting of a birch switch and known the tiresomeness of writing two thousand times, I will not.Despite the mischief he'd done, he had graduated at the top of his class, well above Les and, to everyone's surprise, above Maribeth Hanley. When the lot fell on the village of Amesley that year to be privileged to send its top scholar to the university, he, not Maribeth, had received the grant from the provincial government. His parents had never been so proud of him as on that day last spring when the president of the village council had placed in his hands the precious certificate entitling him to enroll in the National University of Tirbat. Maribeth cried, and her mother, Mistress Hanley, glowered throughout the presentation. But Les looked as thrilled as if he had won, though he would be left behind when Trevor boarded the train to travel south to the great city. Simple farm folk did not travel far from home and could not afford the high cost of the university for their sons and daughters. Trevor would take the marvelous journey alone in two more weeks.Today's bus trip was only to Essell, the county seat, to buy clothes suitable for university wear. But even that short journey seemed an irrevocable commitment to a totally new life, a life that would cut him off from Les, his chum from early childhood. His steps lagged as he thought about that loss.He paused at the cemetery where two years ago Grand-father Blake had been buried, the latest of five Blake generations laid to rest among the spreading oaks. The cemetery was not large, and the graves were arranged in even rows and topped with headstones that for the most part were similarly shaped and no more than knee-high. Near the Blake graves, however, was a single tall stone column on a square base with the words NEVER AGAIN inscribed on the column and names and dates carved on each side of the stone base. One of the names was Oma Blake. He had asked his father who Oma Blake was and what the monument represented, and was surprised when his father scowled, said, That's a question you need to ask your Uncle Matt, and refused to give any further explanation. A short time later his mother took him aside and said, Don't ever ask your father about that monument again. Oma Blake was his sister, and she died tragically. I don't know the whole story myself, but I think your Uncle Matthew was somehow responsible for her death, though it was an accident. Your father was deeply affected by it and doesn't like to be reminded.Trevor gazed at the monument for several minutes, still curious, wondering whether he would ever learn the story.He walked on but, in need of more pleasant memories, stopped briefly on the creaky wooden bridge over the little stream that had provided him and Les with a few fish and many long, dreamy hours lazing on its banks with cane poles in hand.A short distance past the bridge he came to the pear tree he and Les had climbed to rescue old Mrs. Darby's cat. Recalling how they had claimed their reward in pears, he looked hopefully at the tree. Most of the pears had been picked or had fallen, but a juicy-looking pear still hung from a top limb. Trevor's mouth watered. He hadn't forgotten the promise he'd made to his parents long ago, but at age seventeen, ready to leave home, he no longer felt bound by it.Fixing his gaze firmly on the pear, he stretched one hand toward it. The power still came easily despite years of disuse. The stem snapped and the pear floated gently into the air and sailed down to his waiting hand.Only after the deed was done did it occur to him to look carefully up and down the lane and peer at Mrs. Darby's house to make sure that no one had seen. He thought he saw a hand release a curtain in a window, letting it fall back into place after being pulled aside. Holding his prize, he waited to see whether anyone would come out of the house to confront him. When no one did, he decided that he had seen nothing more than the curtain blowing in the breeze.He bit into the pear and ate slowly, relishing every mouthful of its sweet-tart goodness. Tossing away the core, he went on his way singing.The song died when he reached the crossroads in time to see the bus to Essell disappear in a cloud of dust. He ran after it, yelling, but it sped away.His mother would be furious. She was always berating him for his carelessness. He kicked at the dirt until an idea popped into his head.In a few minutes a bus should come from the other direction on its way to the towns of Sharpness and Wickton. His Uncle Matt and Aunt Ellen lived in Sharpness, only a little more than an hour's bus ride from Amesley, but he hadn't visited them since the summer he was seven years old. He'd spent two wonderful weeks with them then in the big, drafty farmhouse where, as far as he knew, they still lived.His use of power to bring down the pear brought back memories of that visit, when he had discovered his special abilities. Oak trees surrounded the house, and on the second day of his visit he had climbed one of them, a branch had broken beneath his weight, and as he was falling, he'd caught himself and floated gently to the ground.For the rest of that visit, although his uncle urged caution, he used his power often. Uncle Matt praised his growing skill but warned him to use the power sparingly, and never in the presence of his father. As usual, he hadn't listened, distracted when Aunt Ellen brought in a plate of sugar cookies hot from the oven.When his father came to pick him up, he brought Les along. It was Les's first trip away from their home village, and he'd bounded off the wagon, a red-haired, freckle-faced whirlwind. Trevor and Les raced around the farm together until Aunt Ellen called them in for dinner. Asked to pass a dish of peas and eager to show off his newfound powers, Trevor lifted the dish and floated it above the table to his uncle.Instead of being pleased, his father shouted and smacked him across the face. His father and Uncle Matt quarreled violently when Uncle Matt defended that use of power. Trevor had been glad for Les's comforting presence when his father, declaring that no son of his was going to be trained as a sorcerer, stormed from the house with the boys in tow and forbade Trevor ever to visit his aunt and uncle again. Later he had appealed to his mother for help, but she had staunchly supported the prohibition. Not only that, but his parents had forced from him the unwilling promise not to use his power again but to hide it and forget it.He broke that promise many times in his younger years. His power was too much a part of him to be cast aside. Several times he'd slipped and used it without thinking, and sometimes he'd used it at school to show off. From time to time at Les's urging he performed some feat just to fascinate his friend or to help him with his chores. But after his father lashed him with a horsewhip when he caught him using his power instead of the pitchfork to lift hay from the loft into the horse stalls, he'd kept it suppressed. Until today.Today he was of age and no longer bound by his parents' restrictions. He could do as he pleased. He'd pay his aunt and uncle a farewell visit before leaving for the university. He'd never had the chance to ask Uncle Matt about the monument in the cemetery; at last he could.The bus chugged and clattered into view. He waved it to a stop and jumped on, handed the driver two small copper coins, and took a seat. As he watched the countryside jog past, he thought about how much Les, too, would enjoy a trip to Sharpness. What fun if they could share this final adventure before their paths parted, perhaps forever.He'd used his power once today; he could do it again.He closed his eyes and drew pictures in his mind: first, Uncle Matt and Aunt Ellen's house as he had seen it last, a rambling frame farmhouse of three stories. Painted a dark brown, it had a high-peaked, wooden-shingled roof with three tall chimneys. And lots of windows. He remembered Les saying that those windows looked like eyes watching everywhere so nobody could ever sneak up on the house. To Trevor that had seemed an odd notion.Then Les as he was today, his fiery red hair as unruly as ever, his boyhood freckles melded into an even tan, his body tall and strong from working in his father's fields.He pictured Les walking along the lane as he had, waiting at the crossroads where he had waited, and, like him, boarding the bus-the afternoon bus this time-to Sharpness and Wickton. He pictured Les taking this same ride, feeling the same monotonous jiggling and rocking all the way to Sharpness.Trevor smiled a satisfied smile as he stepped off the bus. It was almost noon. He strode through town and on down the curving country road that led to his uncle's house.His heart leaped as the house came into view up ahead on the rise, the oak trees on either side of it as full and magnificent as he remembered. The house itself had changed little. He hurried toward it. Aunt Ellen opened the door before he reached it. She looked older than he remembered. Drawing him into a warm embrace, she said, At last you've come back.I wasn't sure you'd recognize me, he said. You haven't seen me since I was seven.She laughed. You've grown up, right enough. But you still have the same straight, shiny brown hair and thrust-out chin. And the famous Blake nose that you're all blessed with.He laughed, too, and hugged her harder. As a kid he'd hated that Blake nose with its bump in the center, but now he had to admit that it was distinctive.Over her shoulder he saw his uncle beaming at him. Trevor, my boy, he boomed. Of course we recognized you. We've been expecting you.Released from his aunt's arms, he received a hearty hug from his uncle and allowed himself to be drawn into the comfortable parlor and installed in an overstuffed wing chair.How could you have been expecting me? he asked. I only decided to come on impulse after I missed the bus to Essell.His uncle's hearty chuckle jiggled his muttonchops. I know, I know. And on the way you decided your friend Les should join you here. You broadcast the suggestion so loud and strong, no sensitive within forty miles could've missed it. Be interestin' to see who turns up along with Les. We might have us quite a party.A dangerous one. A worried frown creased Aunt Ellen's kindly face. Most gifted folks stick together, but there are a few bad apples, and if one of them gets the message.Now, now, Ellen. Won't be nothin' we can't handle. Don't worry the boy.But his uncle stroked the fringe of beard that outlined his jutting chin, and Trevor knew the gesture meant that his uncle was worried, too.His rash act might bring trouble to this house.Copyright © 2004 by E. Rose Sabin

Editorial Reviews

"A tale that should appeal to fans of Harry Potter. Well-written, with memorable characters and a readable style, this title belongs in most fantasy and YA collections." -Library Journal on A Perilous Power