Ned, the witch's boy, survived drowning. His twin did not. His mother, the witch, could not stand to lose both boys so she captures Tam's soul as it was leaving his body and sewed it to Ned's fever-ridden chest. Ned, the wrong boy, recovered but was radically different. He almost never speaks and has lost his ability to read. His mother safeguards the magic in the clay pot which is her heritage, using it for healing and good works, never selfishly. "Far away on the other side of the world, a girl named Aine lived with her mother and father, whom she loved very much." Upon her mother's death, her father becomes a bandit wearing an eye-shaped magical necklace and forges a deal with King Ott of Duunin to obtain the magic controlled by the witch and the witch's boy and win control over Ned's village. We have magic, immortal stones and determined, ethical, brave protagonists to right past and present wrongs.
"Forgiveness is the most powerful force in the world."
"Forgiveness is a remarkable thing, especially when a man forgives himself."
"When you have no chance of reclaiming your past and no hope of claiming your future, all that is left is now. Now...was a tiresome word. Now was insistent and persistent and mean. It did not stop, didn't want, didn't hope. Now was a bully."
"Selfishness is the root of tyranny."
"Magic is dangerous...with consequences."
"Even magic cannot delay death forever."
"It's a terrible thing when a fool with power fools with power."
"A word after all is a kind of magic. It locks the substance of a thing in sound or symbol and affixes it to the ear, or paper, or stone. Words call the world into being."
Mark Twain Award Preliminary Nominee 2016-17