This is definitely a fantasy novel. Being a Tolkien fan, I found many days of enjoyable reading here in J.S. Harrison’s world. This is a place that is crowded with Fairies, Leprechauns, friendly Trolls and Ogres, Wizards, Knights, Dragons, Vampire assassins, large evil black rabbits and ghouls along with Men, Dwarves, Elves and Trofkins.
With an anti-racist sentimism, the author places many different races together to embark on a journey that may bring hope to the people of Werdanbabadood and to save their world from the Evil Wizard, Sardego. This strange mixture of people go through many trials and adventures to find the Knights, only to arrive at a time when so few were able to come to their aide. Regardless of the odds, they carry on and work together in a desperate effort to break the magic staff of Sardego and end his war mongering.
Though everyone plays a very important part in the interwoven web of events, it is the Trofkins, a tree-dwelling people of writers and lovers of food and mischief, who are the heroes of the world. This race was thought unlikely to produce heroes, being a people of many social constraints and clear definitions of what is proper or not. Yet with war on their doorstep, they had little choice but place their only hope in their young chieftain-to-be, the one Trofkin who seemed the least likely to be responsible enough to accomplish this dangerous task. Young Willowby goes far beyond any expectation the Trofkin could have had for even the greatest of their kind. He proves his worth to himself and his people and gains the necessary confidence to rule with a fair, yet just hand.
I very much enjoyed J.S. Harrison’s writing style. It was like being drawn into a big sitting room with a large fireplace, where a deep grandfatherly voice tells the story of Willowby Went. Then without realizing it, I felt sucked into the scenery and it was if I had become the cameraperson at a real, live historical event. It was an effort to put aside the book to carry on with my own tasks!
Keep an eye out for future work by J.S. Harrison folks! I have a feeling he’s going to be one of the ‘great’ writers of our era.