I am looking for a book series that I read between 1988 and 2000, but I can't recall the title or the name.

The first book starts with the main character being chosen to learn magic. By the end of the book, he is decent at the rudimentary spells but does not progress any farther as he is banished from the school due to his involvement with killing a teacher. The series goes on with him learning different spells such as shapeshifting, and time travel with each book.

There is a particular book that features him fighting off the influences of a statue that he finds with the cover art of the main character overlooking a stormy ocean with the old woman standing in front of him with her back turned.

There is a particular scene that I can remember where the main character, now much older, is attempting to gain access to a castle but is blocked by magic wards. To remove the wards, he must strike a bell tower with a bolt of lighting at an exact time. He fails to hit the tower but sees a second bolt of lighting appear from seeming nowhere to hit the tower. He later discovers that this second bolt of lighting was from a version of himself that had learned to travel back in time.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. How long ago was this? (Approximately what year or range of years?) Check out the other suggestions to see if they help you recall anything else you can edit into your question.
    – DavidW
    Dec 18 '20 at 0:15
  • publication range would have been between 1988 to 2000 Dec 18 '20 at 0:18
  • You say publication date in your comment, but you edited the question to say that's when you read it. Could the actual book be older?
    – Buzz
    Dec 18 '20 at 0:20
  • it is possible that it is older, however, I would not be able to say with any certainty just how much older it might be. Dec 18 '20 at 0:22

I think you may be thinking of the Circle of Magic series by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald. In the first book, School of Wizardry, we encounter Randal, a squire in his Uncle's household, training to eventually become a knight, who instead goes with the wizard Madoc to learn magic at a school. Randal has some talent in magic, but has more power than control, which is a problem when the magic system requires precision to accomplish anything. A teacher at the school takes him under their wing and everything looks good for him to graduate until said teacher summons a demon and lets Randal know that he will be the sacrifice. Randal, falling back on his earlier training, grabs the sword used in the ritual and kills his teacher with it, which leads to him being kicked out of the school, not for killing the teacher, but because wizards are forbidden to handle weapons.

1990 edition of School of Wizardry by Troll Communications 2000 edition of School of Wizardry by Troll Communications Scholastic version of School of Wizardry

The bit with the statue of the old woman is the second book, City by the Sea or The Wizard's Statue:

Front cover of The Wizard's Statue Front cover of City by the Sea

Carefully, Randal opened the bag and peeled it away from the object it contained: a statue about a foot tall, carved from ivory long since gone golden with age, representing an old woman leaning on a staff.

He held up the carving and looked at it from all angles. It was more than well made—the old woman almost seemed real. Each wrinkle of her face was lovingly rendered. The hand that grasped the staff was knobby and thin. A few strands of hair escaped from under her hood. Looking at it, Randal got the odd sensation that the figure was alive.

He shuddered slightly. The feeling of magic was overwhelming. Fortunately, the statue wasn't his problem. It was Dagon's. All that remained was to find this Dagon and get rid of the unsettling piece of artwork.

I think the time travel and the lightning strike happen in the fifth book, The Wizard's Castle, also released as The Prisoners of Bell Castle, said title referring to a bell that keeps the people inside trapped in a time bubble.

Front cover of The Wizard's Castle Front cover of The Prisoners of Bell Castle

  • And I just learned today that Debra Doyle died this year on Halloween...
    – FuzzyBoots
    Dec 18 '20 at 2:22
  • that's the one!! Thank you so much for helping me find the series! Sad to hear about Debra passing away. Dec 18 '20 at 20:05

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