This novel is set in a world called Emaneska, the Arka are ruled from their capital city Krauslung by the magick council & the Arkmages. To become a mage one must first go through the intense school of training and finally undertake the ritual, where words of power are tattooed across the shoulders and back. A dangerous undertaking as not all pass the trials.
The majority of the story is told from the viewpoint of the protagonist Farden, a quick tempered, formidable and powerful mage, with complex tattoo's. The tattoo's can eventually drive a mage to madness and Farden was the last to have the words of four of the key elements written on his body. Even reading a mage's tattoo's can bring on the madness.
The scholars have discovered an old book of magic at the libraries of Arfell from the time of the Elves, a spell prevents the book from being opened, a dangerous book of summoning magic that can release daemons and an entity that if released could destroy the world. The book is stolen and five scholars are dead, the magick council enlist Farden to track down the stolen book. Entangled in a web of lies, Farden must travel far and enlist the help of the old enemies, the dragons and together they must search for an old well of magick needed by the unknown enemy for the summoning spells to work.
The interaction with the dragons and the Siren race are well described and a pivotal part of the story, Farden brings an uneasy peace to the two races and returns a tear book to the dragons on which is stored many years of memories.
This is a debut novel and there are flaws, introductions of Fardens close friend a vampyre and also a lycan follow well worn threads. Also the use of a banned drug used by Farden which deadens his talent is a little hard to digest but overall this is a well written story, fast paced with plenty of action, encouraging a quick read.
The plot twists and turns very well, friends and lovers are not all they seem and the final battle against an unstoppable assailant is an excellent climax.
I enjoyed this enough to continue straight away with the second novel.