Hi I'm looking for a series (at least 2) of fantasy novels I read in the early to mid 90's. I can't remember the author or titles, though I can remember some parts of the books.

The main character isn't a very good wizard When taking a wizarding test he must extinguish a flame and does it the most difficult way, sucking the heat out of the flame. He gets attacked by a teacher(?) who wields a sword at him and he grabs the blade with his hand, cutting his palm deeply. The same teacher(?) wants to take over the school using an evil artifact (a statue). The main character is friends with another student who is extremely gifted with magic, but ultimately quits the school for a normal life and dies later. I think it starts off the hero is a keep boy and a traveling wizard conjures a tree that grows, wilts and dies. Later the hero tries scrying and knocks himself out.


2 Answers 2


Circle of Magic (Wizards Apprentice in the UK)


You mostly remember the first book IIRC.

An excerpt from Chapter 1 from Macdonald and Doyle's site: http://www.sff.net/people/doylemacdonald/WIZ1EXPT.HTM

  • Ahh that's it! Thank you so much :-)
    – Lachlan
    Jan 16, 2012 at 23:31

I can only partially help because I remember reading the book but can't remember the title, but since no-one else has answered ...

The book starts with travellers being saved from an attack by magical beasts by the main character, then it moves to an Inn where the main character charges a wizard (or monk?) with writing his life story. The rest of the book is the first part of the life story.

The protaganist went to a wizarding school where he was an underdog because he was poor and had difficulty paying the fees. Notable scenes I remember are:

  • he gets tricked into taking a naked flame into the library, and gets banned from the library as a result

  • he gets flogged (I forget for what), but takes an anaesthetic herb and manages to use the flogging to increase his popularity

I hope this helps jog someone's memory - assuming of course I'm thinking about the right book.

  • 2
    That's The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, but it wasn't published until 2007.
    – user1787
    Jan 16, 2012 at 18:46
  • Oops, yes. Was that mistake really worth a downvote though. Should I stop trying to be helpful in case I make any more mistakes? Jan 17, 2012 at 10:16
  • I did not downvote.
    – user1787
    Jan 23, 2012 at 23:16
  • @JohnRennie: It looks like you survived the experience. :-D
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jan 15, 2018 at 19:22

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