There was once a prince who wished only to be left alone: naturally, fate made him king.
So begins the epic tale of Quad, the young, bookish king who is terrified of his own shadow. Raised and sheltered in a castle, living safely under the shadow of his legendary father, King Pentatutinus, he has never had to deal with anything more trying than his flowery dreams and his efforts to woo the castle scullery maids.
But, now, Pentatutinus has died, leaving him the throne. The naive and unpopular king finds his kingdom of Redaemus in serious disarray: the armies are useless or rebelling; the powerful counselor, Solofaust, is planning a peasants revolution; the lords are worthless and petty. The cities are groaning under the weight of poverty, and at any time the Dark Lord Demio may come swooping through the mountainous passages at the northern border to scoop up the entire kingdom and place it under his repressive control. Even Quads own brother, the heroic warrior-prince Gregor, might be on Solofausts side!
His only hope, he soon learns, is a fabled Oneprince, known only from his fathers old writings, who if found might be able to restore order to the land.
On the day of his coronation, Quad finds himself dethroned in a violent revolution. He barely escapes with his life and finds himself hunted by Solofaust and the armies that once were sworn to protect him. With only a handful of soldiers from the princes old Honor Guard, a mysterious and sensuous wizardess, and his good but illogical friend and counselor (a talking rat), Quad begins his quest.
Soon, he learns that his situation is worse than he at first supposed: the dark lord himself is orchestrating Solofausts rebellion; and soul-devouring spirit-things have been loosed upon the land.
But Quad is hunter, as well: his courage, strength and wisdom grow as he and his little band pursue and finally find the unknown Oneprince, using Quads magical scepter, the Ruby Scion, to find the way. But the Oneprince, himself, proves to be a difficult and strange fellow to handle, more wise man and teacher than warrior, who is convinced their problems lie not with armies of men, but with Demio, alone.
Hiding for a time of preparation in the underground city of Yerushela, the Oneprince trains his new followers for an assault on Demios castle in the frozen kingdom of Demonia, and leads it at last with an army of only a dozen men and women, and a plattoon of those illogical rats to handle their transportation and supplies!
Interwoven with the story of Quads quest is the simpler, but just as intense quest of a young barmaid named Nellie, who joins in Solofausts rebellion, but soon finds herself prisoner first to him, then to the king but, most of all, is a prisoner of her own mind; and the moral and spiritual journey of Solofaust, worshipper of knowledge and power.
The Oneprince is an epic novel full of magic and war, love and drama, comedy and even satire. It is a commentary on religion and society, yet it is also an exciting and action-filled tale. Its characters battle, puzzle and struggle their way through dark castles, mysterious passages, enchanted forests, a city in a cavern, and a deadly and frozen land. They travel on ice-ships, debate and hold trials in massive halls. Yet, against immense odds and conflict on every side (and amongst themselves) they still find unity and ultimate victory through the leadership and love of The Oneprince, son of the Oneking Above.
The Oneprince is a challenging fantasy, with excellent description and characterization, and an imressively devious story line. There are swords and sorcery, but also some serious ethical thinking. This is not a shallow adventure.
Author of the Xanth series