As a child I read Edding’s The Belgariad, and Chocky by Johnathon Wyndham, and then Star Wars came out. I was an adventurous and imaginative boy. I explored tunnels, sewers and mines. I built underground dens and forts and tree houses. I got into so much trouble, and injured myself so often the emergency room knew my name and my mother, a nurse, used to stitch me herself.
Sam Butcheart, the hero of “They Came By Night” yearns for adventure, but he knows his family need him to help build the farm. The pressers come to town recruiting for adventurers to fight the evil Northmen, and Sam is tempted. His father earned his surname fighting for the Militias, and Sam wants to earn respect as a new adult.
Sam’s has survived 13 winters which qualifies him as an Elderstone adult who can legally join the militias and earn his name but he has five younger siblings and knows they will go hungry if he is not around to help prepare the fields and supplement their diet with hunting.
Sam is good. He loves his parents and loves his family. Surely he would not abandon them all.
In every heroes quest there comes an inciting moment that spurs the journey. The hero must overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, and there must be satisfying final confrontation.
Sam’s journey is epic. His is tested. In one scene Sam and his mentor, Red, have captured a young enemy scout. Sam is faced with the dilemma. Can he kill someone so young? Can he release an enemy who can then one day come back and kill his friends? He can’t take a prisoner and complete his mission, so what is he do? The moral dilemma is how to fight an evil without becoming evil. The temptation to go to the “dark side” is strong. Eventually Sam must defeat the Northman Warrior Wizard, Unmind the Scourge