Monday, January 4, 2016

Book Review & Giveaway: Merchant of Alyss by Thomas Locke

~Book Review, Q & A with Thomas Locke, and a GIVEAWAY!!~

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, Paperback and ebook: 368 pages
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: January 5, 2016


With the discovery of an ancient Milantian scroll, Hyam feels the resurgence of his magical power. But what he discerns in the text could mean war.

Merchant of Alyss is Book 2 in the best-selling Legends of the Realm fantasy series. Book 1 is Emissary.

Plot Synopsis

Life for Hyam is bittersweet. Admired by the citizens of Falmouth for his heroic rescue mission, he cherishes these peaceful days with Joelle by his side. Yet grief over the loss of his magical skills during the great Battle of Emporis threatens to engulf him. Sometimes he even wishes he had never known magic at all.

When Hyam comes into possession of an ancient Milantian scroll, he is thrilled to feel the surge of power that courses through him whenever he touches it. But what he discerns in the text could mean war. He embarks upon another journey to determine its true meaning and forestall any attack. But as Hyam is seeking answers, he is unaware that the merchant of Alyss is seeking him…

Free PDF sampler of MERCHANT OF ALYSS – Chapter 1


I'm loving the Legends of the Realm fantasy series!!  It reminds me of Lord of the Rings with it's wizards, different races, and a hidden and enchanted Elvin forest.   I loved getting lost in this fantasy world! :)

In Merchant of Alyss we continue reading about Hyam and Joelle as well as the loyal friends they have made along the way.   Although one quest has been completed and one enemy vanquished, there is more to come!  

As this well developed story unfolds, familiar characters will face their own demons, some face personal loss, new characters become familiar and essential to the story, and they all work to defeat the evil that is trying to take over their world.  

There is much to love about this book - romance, humor, adventure, epic battles, dragons, enchanted forests, good vs evil - this is must read fantasy fiction!

*Thanks to the author and Revell for a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*


About Thomas Locke

Thomas Locke is an award-winning novelist with total worldwide sales of seven million copies.

His work has been published in twenty languages, and critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction and his 2014 induction into the Christy Hall of Fame.

Thomas divides his time between Florida and England, where he serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College at The University of Oxford. Visit Thomas at


Q&A With Thomas Locke

Q: Why did you write MERCHANT OF ALYSS?

Thomas Locke: I began work on MERCHANT OF ALYSS before EMISSARY (book 1 in the series) had been accepted for publication. I had no idea anyone would accept these stories, since they were so utterly different from what I had been writing up to that point. But I was so captivated by the concepts and the emotions that I had to write it.

Q: What was your favorite scene to write?

Thomas Locke: My wife was speaking at a conference in San Francisco, and I had come along to play spouse. I rented a bike and was cycling around the city when I was struck by the image of a guard standing on the parapet in a fierce winter storm, watching a new crimson mage. Who then turns away from the city, walks down to the magic grove protecting Hyam’s home, and attacks.

By the time we returned home, I had the first quarter of MERCHANT OF ALYSS mapped out.

Q: There is the element of magic to the story. What do you hope readers take away from the “Magic” element in the story?

Thomas Locke: The issue of using magic was something I grappled with for some time. I found immense guidance from the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Four thousand years ago, when the concept of “epic” fiction originated, there was a specific purpose behind stories where magic and mythical beasts played major roles. The Greeks sought to create worlds that were bigger than life, with challenges and obstacles that were completely and utterly beyond the reach of mortal man.

The authors sought to portray through story that a normal human being can grow beyond the impossible challenges of life. They wanted to show normal people, with flaws and weaknesses as great as those we all carry today, can in fact rise up. They can triumph.

That is what I seek to do with the Legends of the Realm series. I want to return to the original aims of fantasy fiction. I want to re-insert the concept of heroic struggle, and challenges greater than life, and triumphs over evil and darkness.

Q: For what audience did you write this novel?

Thomas Locke: Increasingly, the younger generations within the faith community are moving away from the mind-set of their parents. I am not suggesting that they are abandoning their faith. What I mean is, they are abandoning their parents’ concept of church.

Many younger believers are trending towards a faith that dwells inside the larger mainstream world. Their lives no longer center upon a church so large it contains its own sense of community. They worship in home churches, or smaller centers focused on outreach. They accept a multi-cultural and multi-racial lifestyle, and seek a church that reflects this.

And their entertainment is being drawn from this wider arena.

At the same time, they are not comfortable with much of the darkness that dominates current television and movie trends. With this Thomas Locke brand, I seek to join a small but growing number of believers who are doing this with books and film.

The preliminary response, both from within the younger generations in our faith community, and from the mainstream, has been more than wonderful. It has been a gift.

Q: What question about MERCHANT OF ALYSS do you wish someone would ask?

Thomas Locke: For MERCHANT, I wish someone would ask, “How did you develop such a sense of natural flow out of a realm that doesn’t exist? How did you manage to structure a fantasy where the logic and surprise fit together powerfully?”

I feel this is a crucial element of both EMISSARY and MERCHANT. And with these two books, the answer is extremely different.

With EMISSARY, it came together as naturally as breathing. This happens sometimes. I wish it happened more often, but that is really in God’s hands.

With MERCHANT OF ALYSS, it was the exact opposite. I burned with this story. I had to write it. The passion and the joy were immense. But it was still such a struggle. And the first draft reflected this.

So I completed the work. Then I set it aside. Six weeks later I did a full-bore redraft. Then I set it aside again.

Six weeks later I did another total redraft. Then I sent it to the editors, who said, “Don’t change a thing.”

Then I did the entire process a third time. It went into line edits. And I did it a fourth and final time. A lot, lot, lot of work to make it as smooth and simple as EMISSARY was at first draft.

Q: Where can we learn more about you and your books?

Thomas Locke: You’ll find me at these online outlets:

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GIVEAWAY - Win the first two books in the Legends of the Realm fantasy series!

Prize is a print copy of Emissary (Book 1)  and Merchant of Alyss (Book 2)!

Contest Rules
  • Click the link below to enter (follow the prompt and leave a comment on this post).
  • Get bonus entries for tweeting about the contest after you entered (I wrote the tweet for you to make it easy to share) and for following the other prompts.
  • Contest opens Monday, January 4, 2016 at midnight CST and closes Friday, January 8, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. CST.
  • No purchase necessary.  Contest is limited to entrants with U.S. shipping addresses.
  • The winner will be chosen randomly through Rafflecopter and will be listed on this post as well as sent an email.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.  The winner will have 3 days (72 hours) to respond.  After 3 days another winner may be chosen.
  • This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified.  
  • This giveaway was organized by Laura at and sponsored by the publisher, Revell.   The books will be mailed by the publisher.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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