Great adventure, but with a lot of violence and interwoven magic.
The Vault of All Known Knowledge has been destroyed by the goblinkin, despite the efforts of humans, elves, dwarves, dwellers, and even a wizard. Now First-Level Librarian Juhg embarks on a quest to rescue his mentor and to fulfill a mission he's been given. Little do he and his friends know that this is much bigger than it appears.
Juhg is a respectable, honest character with a desire to do the right thing. Even in his suspicions, he is fair. He sticks to his goals and convictions.
His friends are a faithful bunch and do all they can to aid him in the quest. One of them bears dark secrets of his past, however, that cause some strain between him and Juhg - and for good reason.
The value of books and education are intimated, especially through Juhg. He is complimented for these, especially for his desire to teach.
Magic is woven throughout. It's described as a neutral force but manipulated for good or ill. A wizard speaks unknown magical words, bears powers, uses his staff as a powerful weapon, and is known for turning annoying people into toads (one instance of this is witnessed). Another important character wields magical abilities. A couple characters can "see" through the eyes of creatures or through "visions" brought by certain gems.
References are made to "the Old Ones" (god-like beings). Two men are said to have tried (unsuccessfully) to become gods.
Juhg comes across a creature who claims that it and its peer had created the world as Juhg knew it to be able to deal with a world and creatures bound by time.
Battles and skirmishes feature blood, high body counts, eyes skewered by arrows or raked by a mini-dragon's claws, and hacked or impaled or magic-blasted bodies. Two necks are broken.
A sea-monster attacks a ship ferociously and receives blows from both physical weapons and the wizard's magic. Later, Juhg and the wizard cut into its body and walk about inside.
Juhg is battered and bruised throughout the tale and he nearly dies a few times, including but not limited to near-deaths by drowning, choking, sword-wounds, and critters that wouldn't care whether or not their next meal is alive or dead upon delivery. His friends get their share of bashing, but their wounds tend not to be as serious.
A tunnel caves in to the harm of many. A story involving the loss of a nose and a bird's leg is briefly related. A story involving a son killing his mother and being hunted, tortured, and killed by his father is told. Mention of a few people having committed suicide (these deaths occurred prior to this story). Juhg's past includes an incident with the need to carry a severed leg around. Spiders paralyze victims; the wizard threatens one man by setting one such spider over his eye, ready to sting. The goblinkin are brutal to their slaves and prisoners.
As much as the violence was pointed out, I didn't find it particularly graphic; it was reminiscent of the violence level in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.
Drug and Alcohol Content
A couple characters smoke pipes.
Juhg relates a story in which two minor characters drink. He and his friends stay at a couple taverns. Drinks are had at meals (Juhg and Co. take only a little wine with their meals).
Crude or Profane Language or Content
It is mentioned that some characters (mostly goblinkin and pirates) curse, though the words are never given. A pirate parrot at one point swears enough to allegedly make a seasoned pirate blush. One goblinkin stands to "bare its haunches" at Juhg and his friends to mock them.
More or less Tolkien-esque in style, this book has a bit of a slow start (albeit with a ton of action), but snowballs into a grand adventure full of peril and themes of friendship, trust, loyalty, and courage. The violence and the magic noted under Spiritual Content may, however, prove off-putting to many readers.