The first book in the fantasy series the Legend of Eli Monpress.

Publication year: 2010
Format: Audio
Running time: 8 hours and 20 minutes
Narrator: Luke Daniels

A light and fun fantasy with medieval like setting which has a lot of nature spirits: trees, rivers, stone. Even paper and ink have spirits which wizards can hear. However, you have to be born a wizard. It seems that a wizard has two choices: either be a spiritualist whose job is to protect the various spirits or an enslaver who, well, enslave spirits from his/her own benefit. Spiritualists have helper spirits who are often eager to do what the wizard asks.

Eli Monpress is the best thief in his world. But this time he has been caught and put in a cell deep in the dungeons of Mellinor, a city without wizards. Or is he caught? Quickly, he convinces the spirit of the wooden door to just lay down and relax. In fact, he and his team intend to kidnap the king and demand a ransom for him. And that’s exactly what they do. His team has Josef, an excellent, if dour, swordsman and Nico a young woman who has a deadly secret.

Miranda Lyonesse is spiritualist and she’s come to Mellinor to warn the king about Eli. But she’s a little too late and comes to the capital city right after the people have found out that their king has disappeared. The law forbids wizards from entering Mellinor but since the council is rather in a bind after the king’s disappearance, they allow Miranda in. She starts to investigate. She and her huge ghost hound Gin are chasing after Eli because Eli is bringing down the good name of wizards everywhere. She loathes him.

But soon the king’s deposed brother appears to hijack the thrown to himself. He was deposed because he was born a wizard but in this situation the council wants a king with the correct bloodline and so he has a lot of supporters. He even throws out Miranda who is, now, forced to team up with Eli, Josef, and Nico to save Mellinor from a worse threat.

This was fun and action-packed read, but doesn’t offer anything beyond that. We don’t actually get to be in any character’s head so we only see them from the outside. Eli is clearly meant to be a charming rogue in the tradition of Robin Hood, Han Solo, and the cast of Firefly. Sadly, I didn’t like him nearly as much as those others but we didn’t really see much of him, just him bluffing his way through various situations. The only thing he seems to want is fame, rather than fortune, and he seems good-hearted. Miranda is similarly good-hearted but bound by rigid rules of spiritualists. She’s powerful and has quick temper which makes her intriguing to me. Seeing them in the same team was a lot of fun, especially since I’m a fan of the troupe.

Eli, Nico, and Joseph all have secrets which weren’t revealed in this book. The main plot is wrapped up but it’s clearly the beginning of a series.