Thirteen-year-old Danny North is a disappointment. In a family of magicians descended from Norse gods, only Danny has no magical talent. He has extraordinary talent for the ordinary activities of running and climbing, sure. But Danny’s true ability is actually the rarest and most dangerous of all.
Internationally acclaimed best-selling author Orson Scott Card’s new novel, The Lost Gate, traces Danny’s adventures from his family’s compound in Virginia to the harsh realities of life on the street and beyond. His sarcasm and impudent behavior cause Danny trouble with mages, criminals and ordinary citizens alike. Card intersperses the protagonist’s journey with that of a mysterious young man from a very different time and reality who faces challenges parallel with Danny’s. His teachers, enemies and companions include a manipulative older street kid and a married couple who appear to be small farmers, as well as members of Danny’s own and other divinely descended families. Card weaves the twinned narratives seamlessly together with the ease of a master storyteller.
The adventures of a teenager who differs from others might have been overly familiar in the hands of a less experienced writer, but Card keeps the action vivid and exciting. In addition, he uses Norse mythology to provide unique explanations for beings as varied as fairies and werewolves. Danny is an unreliable narrator, but he remains sympathetic throughout, even when his attitude places him at variance with every authority figure he meets, from police officers to the people who want to help him.
As the tension builds to an intense conclusion, Danny develops and matures in unexpected ways. Card’s longtime fans will read The Lost Gate with delight, while new readers will relish this introduction to the prize-winning author’s work, thanks to lively characterization, imaginative world-building and lucid prose.