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Acacia is one of the best books I’ve read this summer. It’s the first fantasy novel for Durham, who has previously authored numerous historical fiction novels. Acacia tells the story of 4 children who are sent into exile after their father, king Leodan of Acacia, is murdered. Acacia was a prosperous country, but her prosperity was based on drug and slave trafficking. King Leodan hated the evil underside to his country, but felt helpless to stop it. His dying wish is that his children will live to right the wrongs that he and his ancestors have sanctioned.

Durham does so many things right in this book:

The plot is interesting and fast moving.

His story has an epic feel to it, but he doesn’t introduce so many characters and plot lines that you can’t easily keep them all straight.

There are epic battles, but they don’t go on an on for pages and pages.

He spends enough time on character development that they seem real, but not so much that he slows down the story.

While you know who the “good guys” are supposed to be, they aren’t perfect. However, you don’t get a feeling of moral relativism. Everyone knows what’s right and what’s wrong. The characters must come to grips with the sacrifices that need to be made in order to right the wrongs of the past.

This is the first in the series, and already I’m eagerly anticipating the next one. I would love to see Peter Jackson a movie based on this book. It would be fabulous!