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“Everything I love about Water Keep just gets better in Land Keep—the actions, the characters, the humor, the fascinating and surprising plot twists. Consider me officially hooked on the Farworld series.”
—James Dashner, author of the Infinity Ring and the 13th Reality series
“Thrilling reads.” — Holly Newton, Meridian Magazine
Four mythical Elementals — Water, Land, Air, and Fire — have the power to save two worlds, Earth and Farworld, from a common enemy: the Dark Circle. In book one, Water Keep, a portal has been opened between the two worlds, allowing Marcus, from Earth, and Kyja, from Farworld, to combine their unique gifts and begin their epic quest to find the Elementals.
In book two, Land Keep, Marcus and Kyja travel with Cascade, a Water Elemental, toward Land Keep, the home of the powerful and wise Land Elementals. However, their journey may end before it even begins. Land Keep is empty, deserted for at least a thousand years, and the rumor is that the creatures who once controlled all land magic are extinct. Marcus and Kyja's only hope seems to lie in finding the Augur Well, a legendary Oracle protected by subtle traps and mind-bending trials. To succeed in their quest, Marcus and Kyja must also avoid the Keepers of the Balance, an order dedicated to redistributing magic to the rich and powerful. And they must travel far underground, where Cascade is unable to follow and where they will be unable to leap to the safety of Earth.
As the Dark Circle closes around them, Marcus and Kyja are faced with the temptation of what they desire most. Sacrifices must be made, and not everyone will survive unscathed.
- Reading level: 9-12
- Pages: 369
- Published: September 2009
- Number of discs: 8
- CD Approximately: 10.25 hours
About the Author
J Scott Savage is the author of the Farworld middle grade fantasy series and the Case File 13 middle grade monster series. He has been writing and publishing books for over ten years. He has visited over 400 elementary schools, dozens of writers conferences, and taught many writing classes. He has four children and lives with his wife Jennifer and their Border Collie, Pepper in a windy valley of the Rocky Mountains.
One Man’s Treasure
“Cascade?” Kyja leaned across the gunwale of the sailboat, searching the sluggish brown Noble River. The boat’s trim bow knifed silently through water that smelled of fish, mud, and slime, but there was no sign of the Fontasian.
Sunlight peeked over the eastern horizon, and one by one, the dawn chimes raised their tiny purple heads, breaking into song. Still asleep in his net hammock, Marcus rocked fitfully and began moaning. He was having the nightmare again. But if she woke him, he’d only deny it and grump all morning about not getting enough sleep. She supposed he’d tell her when he was ready about whatever had been haunting his dreams for the last few weeks.
Leaning further over the side of the boat, she tried again. “Cascade, where are you?”
She’d told the water elemental to come back before Marcus woke up. They’d reach the end of the Noble River in only another day or two. And still there was no sign of Land Keep. They might have to bribe someone for information, and to do that, this plan needed to work.
Several large air bubbles gurgled from the depths of the river, and a pair of dark eyes appeared beneath its murky surface. Kyja gave a tiny yelp and jerked back into the boat, thinking it was Cascade trying to scare her.
But a moment later, the eyes rose out of the water—bulbous and gray on a pair of swaying green stalks. The stalks were attached to a round, fleshy face, nearly the same color as the river. The creature’s body looked as if someone had taken a bunch of leftover parts from other animals and slapped them together—a short, pudgy torso covered with blotchy green warts, webbed feet nearly as long as the body, and a neck that rose so far into the air that the creature’s head seemed constantly in danger of toppling over.
“A throg,” Kyja sighed, smiling at her earlier fright. To think she had mistaken that for a water elemental. Cascade would be highly insulted if she told him. The idea made her smile even wider.
As though reading her thoughts, the throg opened its broad mouth so its entire head seemed to split in half and croaked, “Cascade, where are you?” in a booming voice that echoed across the water’s surface. Marcus moaned and rolled over in his hammock.
“Hush,” Kyja whispered to the throg, trying to shoo it away with one hand.
But the creature paddled happily alongside the boat, croaking “Cascade, Cascade, Cascade. Where are you? Are you?”
Kyja groaned. Now she’d done it. Throgs were copycats—imitating any sound they heard until something else drew their attention. If she didn’t chase it off, it would wake Marcus for sure. Stretching to her tiptoes, she managed to get her fingers into the water and splash at the Throg’s big, gray eyes. “Go away!”
“Go away!” the throg repeated, raising its voice so it sounded almost exactly like Kyja. “Away. Away. Away.”
“Ohhh!” Kyja grimaced. She looked around for Riph Raph, hoping he could blow a fireball in the throg’s direction to scare it, but the skyte was off somewhere—probably hunting fish and bugs for breakfast.
Kyja leaned so far toward the river, her feet actually left the deck. She cupped a handful of water to throw at the creature that was still happily chanting, “Away, away, away, away.” At that moment, the boat bumped against a sandbar, bouncing sideways like a cork. Kyja’s arms pinwheeled, trying to catch the edge of the boat, but she was too far off balance.
“Help!” she squeaked as she went over the side. She gulped a quick mouthful of air and closed her eyes, dreading the inevitable splash of lukewarm water that would leave her feeling bedraggled and soggy all day. Instead, a firm hand caught her shoulder.
Opening her eyes, she saw a blue-tinged face that looked no older than sixteen or seventeen, topped by spiky, white hair. “Did you want to go swimming?” Cascade asked without a trace of humor in his voice. “It seems odd to bathe at this time of morning, but I’ll let you drop if you like.”
“Of course not,” Kyja said, trying not to look as embarrassed as she felt. “Put me back in the boat.” She hoped Marcus hadn’t seen the whole thing. He’d tease her about it all day if he had.
“Very well.” The Fontasian blinked his curious, sea-green eyes and lifted her onto the boat with seemingly no effort.
Once her feet touched the polished wood deck, Kyja glanced at Marcus. He was still asleep, thank goodness. “Where were you, anyway?” she asked as she yanked her robe back into place and straightened her long, dark hair.
“You asked me to find what was at the bottom of the river,” Cascade answered, floating through the water at the exact same pace as the boat.
Even though they’d been traveling together for over three months, it was still strange to watch the elemental rise out of the water. For one thing, he never got wet. His hair looked white and frothy like the foam of a fast-moving river. But there were no drops in his hair, and it never plastered against his head the way Kyja’s did when she went swimming. And for another thing, he didn’t emerge out of the river—he formed from it.
Though his blue-robed torso, arms, and head appeared completely solid, Kyja could see that the rest of his body disappeared as soon as it hit the water, as if he didn’t exist from the chest down. He could appear whole when he wanted to, but he seemed to take great delight in rising without warning from the river or suddenly morphing into a puddle of water.
Kyja took a deep breath to steady herself. “So what did you find?”
The Fontasian reached into his robe and pulled out a handful of brown goop leaking slowly through his fingers.
“Mud?” Kyja rolled her eyes. “You took all that time to bring back a handful of mud?” Cascade was every bit as difficult to understand as Zhethar, the frost pinnois, had predicted. She could never be sure if the water elemental was teasing her or just being his annoyingly logical self.
“Not just mud,” Cascade wet his fingers in the river and waved his hand over the mud. Kyja’s view of the glop expanded until it was like she was peering into a miniature forest. A dotted yellowish blob oozed toward a tiny green, tree-like shape. A larger blue blob came into view and made straight for the smaller one. It opened what looked like a mouth. But as the blue blob was about to eat the yellow blob, a spark of light shot out from the tree. A second later, the tree sucked up both the blobs and swam away.
“There is a wide variety of plant and animal life within,” the water elemental explained.
“It is interesting. I was just hoping there might be something more unusual down there. Maybe something a little prettier?”
“I see.” Cascade nodded. He returned the mud to his robe and pulled out an item that glittered in the morning sun.
Kyja’s eyes widened at what she thought might be jewels until the terrible smell hit her. “Yuck,” she said, realizing the glittering came from light reflecting off the scales of a dead fish. “That’s disgusting. Throw it away.”
Shrugging, the water elemental tossed the fish into the river.
Kyja wrinkled her nose. When she asked Cascade to find what was under the water, she’d imagined sunken treasure—not mud and dead fish. But she knew from experience that the Fontasian would refuse to look for treasure if she asked outright for it. Water elementals didn’t understand the concept of doing things for others without getting something in return. Half the reason Cascade had agreed to join Marcus and Kyja was to learn more about what they called “caring.”
“Did you find anything that doesn’t stink?” she suggested, wondering if water elementals even had a sense of smell.
Cascade tilted his head. “It would be odd to find something on the bottom of a river that didn’t smell like the bottom of a river.”
“I don’t mind if it smells like a river,” Kyja said. “Did you find anything that’s pretty and doesn’t smell like a . . . a dead fish?”
The Fontasian reached into his robe again and pulled out a rock. “This doesn’t smell like a dead fish.”
“Arghh,” Kyja growled, sure Cascade was teasing her. “You search the entire river and come back with mud, dead fish, and rocks!” But as Cascade began to drop the rock into the water, something glinted brightly.
“Wait,” she called. “Let me see that.”
Cascade handed her the rock, and she turned it slowly in her fingers. Flecks of metal shimmered on its surface. “This looks like gold,” she murmured.
The water elemental nodded. “It does have a larger than normal amount of that mineral within it, giving it a shiny appearance. You may keep it if you like.”
“Really?” Kyja’s eyes lit up, but then narrowed with suspicion. “Why would you give me something so valuable? What do you want in return?”
Cascade frowned. “Humans have an odd idea of value. The mud contains a wealth of plants and animals. It is rich in nutrients. The fish is a source of energy. The rock simply is.” He shrugged. “It shines, but so do many things.”
Understanding dawned on Kyja. She and Marcus had managed to sell several more of the trill stones on Ert—Earth, she corrected herself; she’d been working on pronouncing the name. But Earth money was no good on Farworld. They would need information soon, but had nothing to bargain with to get it. If the Fontasian didn’t value gold, having him bring it to them might be a way to fix that.
“Do you have any more shiny metal?” she asked, thinking how surprised Marcus would be when he woke up to discover they were rich.
“Of course.” The Fontasian reached into his robe and pulled out . . . an old boot. Its leather was mostly eaten away by fish and time, but a brass buckle gleamed dully through a mossy coating.
Kyja pretended polite interest. “Anything else?”
As Cascade reached into his robe again, Kyja wondered how he could store so many things in there. Was it some kind of water magic, or did he just have a lot of really big pockets?
“Oh,” she gasped as the Fontasian held out something that glittered in the sun. This time it wasn’t a dead fish or even a rock with flecks of gold. It was a beautiful necklace covered with dozens of gems.
“Can I hold it?” she asked.
Cascade offered her the gorgeous piece of jewelry, and Kyja held it up to the light. The sun’s rays reflected off the gems in a rainbow of colors. It had to be worth . . . well, she didn’t know how much. But a lot.
Looking quickly into Cascade’s unreadable eyes, she tried to assume the shrewd attitude that had helped her get the best deals in the marketplace back when she’d lived with the Goodnuffs. “I guess since this is made of more rocks, you wouldn’t mind if I kept it?”
Cascade roared with laughter. “Splash and spray! What kind of a fool do I look like?”
Kyja’s face went red. Cascade had been tricking her all along. Now that she thought about it, she remembered seeing the elemental wearing a gold medallion on occasion. “You said you didn’t care about gold,” she complained.
“I do not,” the Fontasian agreed.
Kyja shook her head, gripping the necklace tightly in her hand. “Then why would you care if I kept this?”
The Fontasian looked confused. “Because of the workmanship that went into it, of course. The stones themselves are only rocks. But the time taken to create such a piece is of great value. I would no more give it to another than I would give the boot.”
“The boot? You think that rotten old boot is worth as much as the necklace?” Kyja didn’t understand Fontasians at all. Were the other elementals this odd too? “What if I trade you my boots for the necklace?” she offered. “They’re in much better shape than that old one.”
Cascade held out his hand for the necklace. “I have no need of boots.”
“Fine, then,” Kyja huffed. She gave back the necklace. “What are you going to do with it?”
She watched in horror as Cascade tossed it over his shoulder, where it quickly disappeared into the slow-moving water. “I have no need for the necklace, either.”
“Ohhh!” Kyja cried, clapping her hand to her mouth. “If you weren’t going to keep it, why not give it to me?”
The water elemental tilted his head, an odd half-smile on his face. “You have nothing I want.”
Kyja balled her fists, unable to believe how selfish he was. “You are such a . . . such a . . .” She tried to think of a word bad enough to encompass so mean an act. Suddenly, she remembered a word Marcus had used on Earth when a man nearly hit them with his car. “You are such a . . . jerk!”
From behind her came the sound of loud laughing. She spun around, eyes blazing.
Marcus was awake.
by Heather - reviewed on October 08, 2009
“Water. Land. Air. Fire. Together, the balance of Farworld they keep.” Kyja and Marcus are on a quest to outdo the Dark Circle by convincing the four elementals of Farworld to work together. In the first book of the Farworld series, Water Keep, Marcus and Kyja were able to get the water elementals to cooperate, but now they have to travel to find the land elementals. Problem is, no one can tell them precisely where they are since they’ve been missing for thousands of years. In this second installment, Land Keep, the captivating adventure continues. Marcus—a boy with magical powers, and Kyja—a girl who wants magic more than anything. The two soon find out that they each have to trade what’s most dear to them in order to survive. Since Marcus’s birth, sacrifices have been made in his behalf that he is only now beginning to realize. But the longer he stays on Farworld, the faster his health declines. In a race against time, the characters must outsmart the Keepers and determine who is really on their side. The plot is far from simple, but the complexity is rich and satisfying as questions proposed in Water Keep are answered in Land Keep. A clear picture of this new world emerges as the characters discover that things are not necessarily as they seem. Land Keep is highly visual, fast-paced, with multi-layered intrigue. But most importantly, the characters breathe life into the pages, pulling us into a magical realm. One that is truly powerful.
A great follow up to book one.
by Jacob - reviewed on December 18, 2009
There are a lot of twists and turns in book two of Far World. It was a lot better than I was expecting. Lots of action at the end. The prologue builds up a lot of suspense for what will happen in book 3.
by Shauna - reviewed on February 23, 2013
This series continues to amaze me.... It is truly a great fantasy story! Filled with adventure, friendship, hunger for power, a hint of humor, and twist and turns along the way...and just wait until you read the very last line of the story...OH SO GOOD! I am anxiously ready to read book 3 ~ Far World: Air Keep!
I love the characters in this book!
by Monica - reviewed on April 23, 2013
I enjoyed this book more than I did the first one, and I really liked the first one. I thought Mr. Savage's writing improved, and the character development is very good. Marcus and Kyja are such a great team. They and their relationship drive this book and series. I love that they learn to work together. I love that they learn that by working hard and working together they can overcome obstacles, even with their disabilities. I love that they not only use their physical strength in their challenges, but they also use their mental strengths. I love that they are both strong, intelligent characters, yet they are not perfect (well, Kyja's pretty close....). The evil guys get more evil and there are some intense scenes with the evil guys. The ending war has some fun and some not-so-fun twists....think betrayal....But the ending is what threw me--I re-read it three times just to make sure that is what it really said. It made me mad. It's a good thing I have book three already! This book is profanity-free and only has a small kiss. There are some intense scenes with violence and the death of some known characters. I recommend it for about 4th grade and up. You may read my full review on my book blog: www.the-readathon.blogspot.com.