Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 7 to 12
Calling to mind the work of J.R.R. Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay in its sweeping invention, The Fathomless Fire, the second book in the breathtaking Perilous Realm trilogy, is now available in paperback!
Having returned from his exhilarating adventure in the Perilous Realm, Will Lightfoot is safely back at home with his family, going through the motions of an ordinary life. But he is dogged by feelings of restlessness and desperate to reconnect with his friend Rowen, a girl from the city of Fable. It's not long before he obeys the irresistible pull to return and resume his quest. But he is shocked to discover that in the time he's been away, he has become a legend to the people of Fable. Greeted as a returning hero, Will soon has to test his mettle. Can he rescue Rowen from the clutches of Angel, the dreaded servant of the evil Malabron? Or will Rowen, and all of Fable, be swept up in Malabron's wicked scheme?
About the author
Thomas Wharton was born in Grande Prairie, Alberta, an agriculture and oil city located near the BC border. His father, a utilities manager, was transferred to Jasper when Wharton was a teen. The years Wharton spent exploring the mountains and glaciers around Jasper have had a lasting impact on his literary output; references to the Rocky Mountains weave in and out of the books he has written, most notably Icefields (NeWest Press, 1995) and The Logogryph. A life-long love of maps, history, art, and poetry equally informs his work. His latest adult novel is Every Blade of Grass. He is also the author of a fantasy trilogy, The Perilous Realm for younger readers. The Shadow of Malabron, The Fathomless Fire, and The Tree Story are available from Doubleda Canada.
Excerpt: The Fathomless Fire (by (author) Thomas Wharton)
HE WAS LEAVING TONIGHT. He couldn’t wait any longer. Will stuffed the bottle of water into his pack with the apple and the energy bars. He looked around his tiny, lowceilinged bedroom, wondering if there was anything else he should bring. It all depended, he thought, on how long he would be gone. And that was something he didn’t know.
From the floor below came a clatter of pots and pans. Dad was making dinner, and apparently destroying the kitchen in the process. The noise was surprisingly loud, as if Dad was in the same room with him. Will wasn’t used to the way sound carried in this new house, but then he wasn’t used to a lot about it yet. His family had moved in only a few weeks ago, after travelling across the country from the town that Will had lived in all his life. He hadn’t wanted to move in the first place, and when they’d first pulled up in front of this ramshackle little two-storey house, with its peeling paint and unmown lawn, his heart had sunk. But now, despite the unfamiliar smells and the cramped quarters, made worse by all their still-unpacked boxes, he had to admit there was something he liked about the place. It was at the edge of town, on a quiet, tree-shaded road lined with other houses of the same age and state of repair. There wasn’t much traffic. It was a place where you could come and go without many people around to notice.
Looking out of his window now he could see trees and a few scattered rooftops. The house, he thought, stood between two worlds, the city and the country. And that was it. The house was like him. Between worlds.
“What are you doing?”
Will jumped and turned to the door. His little sister Jess stood there, a doll tucked under one arm and a wide-eyed look of curiosity on her face.
“Nothing,” Will said quickly.
“Are you going somewhere?”
She was eyeing the pack he was still holding in his hand. Since they’d moved in Jess had been coming into his room without warning, as if the house was so new to her she was still figuring out the living arrangements. He shouldn’t have left his door open.
“For a hike, maybe,” Will said, tossing the pack onto his bed with what he hoped looked like a casual gesture. “Tomorrow, if it’s a nice day.”
He expected her to ask if she could come along. She was always tagging along behind him whenever he went anywhere. But to his surprise she only watched him silently, with an odd expression he couldn’t interpret.
“Dad wants you downstairs,” she said as she turned suddenly and walked away, leaving Will with the uneasy feeling that his plans were not as secret as he had thought. But how could Jess know anything about them? She and Dad had no idea what had happened to him during the trip to their new home. They didn’t know he’d gone on a journey of his own, to a place far stranger than this unfamiliar house.
And now he was going back. He had no choice. Not after what had happened last night.
Last night, Will talked to a shadow . . .
It was a warm summer evening and he couldn’t sleep. The house made strange noises at night, soft little creaks and odd knockings. He lay awake in his bed for a long time, listening to these sounds and trying to guess what was making them. After a while he gave up on sleep, climbed out of bed and started unpacking some of the boxes in his room labelled Will’s stuff.
To his surprise he realized that one of the boxes wasn’t from the move. On the lid was his name, written in his mother’s neat, graceful hand. This was a box of his things that she had packed away long ago.
He opened the box and began to unpack it, and each thing he lifted out brought memories with it. His old stuffed animals. Plastic figures of superheroes and monsters. Crayon drawings of his from years ago. And at the bottom, books. He lifted the books out one at a time and turned the pages, remembering. There were his favourite storybooks when he was very young. The Wolf and the Three Little Pigs. Jack and the Beanstalk. Little Red Riding Hood. The bindings were loose and the pages tattered and torn. Some pages had his childish crayon scrawls on them. He hadn’t treated books very well back then.
His mother had read him these stories at bedtime. He had asked for them over and over. And when they both got tired of the storybooks, she told him stories that she made up herself. Most of her own stories were about a boy who could run faster than a hare and leap higher than a deer, so the people called him Light-of-foot, or Lightfoot for short . . .
Will’s mother had died three years ago, not long after Will’s eleventh birthday, but he could still hear her voice, as clearly as if she was here beside him, telling him about Lightfoot’s adventures. At first Will believed the stories were true, and he was thrilled to have the same name as this boy hero of long ago, who was always outwitting monsters and menaces of every kind. He was not only fast on his feet, he was clever, too, and it was quick thinking that got him out of more than one tight spot, like the time he stood up to Captain Stormcloud and his Lightning Warriors . . .
Praise for Thomas Wharton:
“[Wharton] cement[s] his reputation as one of Canada’s most promising young writers.”