One of the coolest ideas Wayne Batson came up with for this novel is the concept of reading tree rings. One of the knights explains (page 187):
"The rings of most trees tell only the most general tales: those of fires, floods, or extremely cold winters," Nock explained. "But King Eliam gave the blackwood trees a different kind of awareness. They do not have eyes or ears, but through wind and soil, bark and leaf, they sense much more than ordinary trees. And for those who have the skill, their rings tell fantastic tales."
"There is much here about his children," Nock went on, skipping many rings and dwelling only on those that were broken or disturbed. "He is sad because one of his sons fell near the river. And here, he loses a limb to the wind. Let me see, no broken lines until..."
Nock slid around until he came to the last ring. Then he stared, and his face contorted with sadness. He began to read aloud. "This is just before the end. 'The dark one has returned,' he says. 'He is not alone this time. There are many soldiers. They bring a burning blade...'"
While the first book, The Door Within, could arguably stand alone, the same can't be said of The Rise of the Wyrm Lord. You will want to have the third book, The Final Storm on hand before you're done book two.
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