"JACOB OF AVONDALE," by P. Craig Packer, Tate Publishing, $19.99, 253 pages (f) (ages 12 and up)

Imagine for a moment, being raised as an orphan servant in the castle and serving the royal family. Every day is the same: Food is served, doors are oiled, windows are cleaned, dresses are sewn. Nothing changes. Nothing exciting happens.

That is how life is in Utah author P. Craig's Packer's most recent novel "Jacob of Avondale." Jacob must serve in the castle for the rest of his life. But then one day he discovers a secret room at the top of the staircase. Inside the room is a magical gem held tight by a skull. Many have tried various ways to dislodge the gem, but only Jacob succeeds.

Hunted by the royal family, Jacob escapes from the castle with Princess Catherine and seeks refuge in the forest with his new-found friend Raoul and his wife, Elizabeth. But things are not what they seem and treachery has filled the air. In order to save the kingdom, Jacob must embark on a quest with his friends and newly acquired skills that will change his life and the kingdom forever.

"Jacob of Avondale" is an easy and enjoyable read and has many things to capture the avid imagination. There is a magic sword, a quest to save the kingdom, monsters to defeat, evil to destroy and a little romance.

The story is for a younger audience so don't be surprised with the simple writing style and characters that aren't complex. The foreshadowing is very straightforward in many places allowing the twists to lose their flavor and the ending is certainly not a surprise. But as some say the journey is more important than the destination, and Packer takes the reader on an exciting journey.

If you go ...

What: P. Craig Packer book signing

When: Saturday, Oct. 27, 1 p.m.

Where: Barnes and Noble, Layton Market Center, 1780 N. Woodland Park Drive, Layton

Web: barnesandnoble.com

Lauren Zachary is a recent college graduate from Southern Utah University with an English degree. She works at a local city library while working towards obtaining a master's of library science. She founded and contributes often to cedarscene.com.