Unluckily for Maurey, the two rings he keeps around his neck are seen by the wrong people - and his parentage is identified and he is sentenced to be tested in the philosopher's fire. The fire does not harm humans, but it kills nightwalkers. Luckily for Maurey, he is rescued in the nick of time by Annot, the young Baroness of Oakhold. This is the start of their adventures, on the run and headed for the Talverdin mountains.
Canadian author K.V. Johansen's background as a medieval scholar is evident in her world-building, as is her admiration for Tolkein's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Pullman's His Dark Materials also came to mind in the school setting. Johansen, however, moves her story forward quickly without a great deal of description, and so her writing is accessible to younger readers. Recommended for Grade 5 - 9. Book one in The Warlocks of Talverdin series.