The Curse of the Thrax

The Curse of the Thrax

The Curse of the Thrax was first published in 2014 and is the debut novel of Mark Murphy. The story follows a year in the life of Jaykriss, an ordinary fourteen year old boy, after he makes a startling discovery that completely changes his world view. The novel forms the first part of The Bloodsword Trilogy, though at the time of writing this review no further instalments have been announced.

It has been a year since the death of Jaykriss’s father and since then he has been forced to juggle his school work with providing for his mother and sister. In order to do so, Jaykriss and his best friend Marda are forced to regularly head out hunting in the woodlands around there home, putting their lives on the line as they avoid venomous serpents, brutish pig-men and, worst of all, the Thrax – the terrible dragon that devoured his father.

During one eventful hunt, Jaykriss and Marda manage to inadvertently attract the Thrax’s attention. In fleeing from creature, the two boys stumble across a cavern hidden behind a waterfall. The cave is the home of a hermit called Zamarcus and it is from him that they learn the true history of the world. All of the horrible creatures that wander the woods are the result of a man-made biological disaster – one that the local priests claim was divine judgement – and the Dark King that rules them is actually a tyrannical dictator who covets all technology for himself and brands anyone who opposes him as a traitor.

Zamarcus believes that Jaykriss is the prophesised ‘One Who Leads’, the man who is destined to overthrow the Dark King and restore balance to the world, but the teenager has more pressing concerns. The local priests are intent on forcing his mother to remarry and are threatening to take his family home if she does not. In order to save his mother, Jaykriss wants to enter the Mortal Tournament, knowing that if he succeeds he can have a single wish granted. But the contest is dangerous and no one living has ever challenged it. How can Jaykriss hope to survive when he does not even know what form the tournament will take?

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