I read this book in the mid-2000s, but can't remember if that's actually when the book was released. Here are some details I remember:
A red-haired noble wants to be an adventurer, and goes on a voyage with another man he meets whose name might have had a J in it, (Jarus, Janus)?
On the way to beginning the adventure, the group has a few rough encounters. In one situation, the protagonist is escaping in a cart and strikes a pursuer, taking one of his eyes.
Throughout the novel, he discovers he has these magical abilities that J character helps him to explore. Later, J character betrays him in order to use those abilities for personal gain. While captured, the now one-eyed pursuer from earlier in the novel gets the chance to torture the protagonist for a day.
Later, the protagonist escapes, defeats J, and gets home with riches beyond belief. Ring a bell for anyone? It might have been called the far islands, the far lands, something like that.