The Shadowhand Covenant
After nearly destroying the town, the townspeople and all the surrounding country in THE VENGEKEEP PROPHECIES, the Grimjinx clan would like nothing more than to escape the public eye and go back to their life of crime. Jaxter Grimjinx has moved in with the Dowager Soranna to assist in examining all of the creatures and magical elements in the surrounding countryside. Although he enjoys learning about Vessapedes, slimy insect creatures that burrow into the earth, he yearns for more magic and a little bit more adventure. He’s therefore immediately intrigued when he and his parents are summoned by the mysterious Shadowhands --- the most elite thieves-for-hire in all of the Five Provinces.
The Shadowhands have existed for centuries and have pulled off some of the most elaborate heists ever imagined. They have been able to do this because of their complete anonymity --- anyone could be a Shadowhand and you would never suspect it. So Jaxter is surprised when he discovers that it’s his former-best-friend-turned-enemy Maloch who sent the summons, and even more shocked when Jaxter’s mother, Allia, reveals that the Shadowhands are vanishing! If some of the best thieves in the world who excel at staying quiet and hidden are disappearing, you know it’s serious. Jaxter’s parents immediately set off on their own to discover who’s behind the disappearances, and before Jaxter can return to the Dowager to continue his studies, he and Maloch are ambushed and captured.
...if you’re looking for a new fantasy series to sink your teeth into, you are not going to want to miss this one.
Apparently, somebody else has taken notice of the vanishing Shadowhands but in a more indirect way. Jaxter and Maloch soon learn they’ve been captured by the country-dwelling and very peaceful Sarosan people. The Sarosans inform Jaxter and Maloch that mysterious magical artifacts have gone missing from the royal vaults, and the High Laird has blamed the Sarosan people for their disappearance. The High Laird is rounding up the Sarosans one by one and throwing them into jail, and they need some help. Jaxter realizes that only Shadowhands could be capable of infiltrating the royal vaults, but he can’t quite make the connection between the Sarosans, the Shadowhands and the missing artifacts.
Little by little, Jaxter starts to fit the pieces together, but not before some fun and danger is to be had. Author Brian Farrey takes Jaxter and his companions on a whirlwind trip all over the Five Provinces as they search for the missing artifacts, Jaxter’s and Maloch’s missing parents and the vanishing Shadowhands, all while trying to uncover who is behind the sinister plot to wipe out both the Shadowhands and the Sarosans.
When I read THE VENGEKEEP PROPHECIES, the first book in the series, I thought there was just enough potential to make this series rival the big names like Harry Potter and The Inheritance Cycle. I’m happy to say that THE SHADOWHAND COVENANT lives up to these expectations and more. The world of the Five Provinces and Jaxter Grimjinx is greatly expanded, new characters are introduced, new depth can be seen in existing characters, and the conclusion sets up endless possibilities of where Brian Farrey could go next. I’m very intrigued to see what happens in the next book, and if you’re looking for a new fantasy series to sink your teeth into, you are not going to want to miss this one.
Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on December 12, 2013
The Shadowhand Covenant
- Publication Date: October 22, 2013
- Genres: Youth Fiction
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins
- ISBN-10: 0062049313
- ISBN-13: 9780062049315