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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

The Golden Vial by Thomas Locke has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the third book in the “Legends of the Realm” series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Since her family was killed four years earlier, 18-year-old Dally has lived with the mayor and his wife as a servant. She has discovered she can communicate with animals and see beyond her surroundings in magical ways. She never mentions these gifts to others, until a young woman named Shona begins visiting her in dreams.

When Dally tells the mayor of her visions, she learns Shona is the Realm’s new queen. Shona and her allies are pursuing a mysterious enemy that threatens to destroy the region. This evil force has afflicted Shona’s friend and senior wizard, Hyam, with a deadly disease. The queen says she is coming to Dally’s village, which was Hyam’s hometown, in search of answers she hopes will save his life.

Shona camps in the village of Honor with her army and advisers. They seek Dally’s help and discover the girl’s powers eclipse those of the Realm’s strongest wizards. Dally travels with the army, since she can intuit the enemy’s presence.

Along the way, Shona and her wizards test the limits of Dally’s abilities. They learn she can bond with candle flame and receive answers to her questions. Dally sees a vision of Hyam’s wife, Joelle, lying in a coma. The enemy has stolen her breath and trapped it in a vial. The queen and company find Hyam and attend Joelle’s funeral.

The company moves on, searching for a dragon they hope can heal Hyam. The dragon reveals that Dally is carrying the same disease. He tells Dally she must bring unity to the realm, yet she’s unsure how to reconcile this mandate with her physical and emotional weakness. With the help of her handsome protector, Connell, and the others, she fights despair and prepares for battle. Her friends give her dragon blood to drink until her health improves.

Dally falls in love with Connell but believes someone from a rich, powerful background like his could never return her affection. She befriends a seer named Bryna, whose people are afraid to join the queen’s fight. Following directions and spells given her by the dragon, Dally leads the company to a fortified city. She finds the vial containing Joelle’s breath.

The army searches for a point of entry into the city, past the enchanted walls. They battle the enemy in drenching rain until the dragon arrives to defeat their enemy. In the aftermath of the hostilities, different regions of the Realm unite. Dally and Hyam begin to heal, and Connell tells Dally he cares for her. Dally discovers orbs of power exist nearby, and she urges Shona to build her palace close to them.

Christian Beliefs

None, though some of the battles could be seen as being allegorical

Other Belief Systems

Many characters practice magic and wizardry, sometimes healing the injured after battles. Bryna, Dally and others can see into the future or view distant places. The wizards urge Dally to reach beneath the earth with her senses to form a link within herself so she can bond with the heartstone in her wand. Later, Hyam tells her to take the next step in bonding with her orb by using a spell. The queen says her friend, the tree, will be honored to serve as Joelle’s pyre.

Authority Roles

The queen, wizards, advisers and soldiers respect Dally and seek her insight. The more experienced wizards teach Dally to hone her skills and expand her power.


The army battles the enemy in drenching rain until the dragon arrives to defeat the enemy.



Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

16 and up


Thomas Locke






Record Label



Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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