Luca Vero is a member of the secret Order of Darkness, tasked with searching out and reporting signs of the end of the world. Breaking his journey in Piccolo, he finds a place filled with superstitious fears: of the unknown, of the forces of the sea and sky, of strangers. With him are his loyal friend and servant, Frieze, and his clerk, Brother Peter, as well as the Lady Isolde and her mysterious servant-companion Ishraq. The five of them are followed into the town by a huge children’s crusade, led by a self-proclaimed saint. Its young leader promises that the sea will part before them, and allow them to walk dry-shod all the way to Jerusalem. Luca and Lady Isolde are swept up in the growing excitement; but something dangerous is brewing far out to sea…
I am still suffering some severe Hobbit-fever.
Of course January usually begins with Tolkien for me, and I’ve finished my yearly read of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. This year for the first time I’ve gone straight into further reading, and a few days ago I finished reading The Silmarillion for the first time in many, many years (and seemingly no less difficult than the first time I read it). Last year I painstakingly collected the massive 12-part-plus-index History of Middle Earth, plus the two-part History of the Hobbit to add to my collection. After checking out an article from the Tolkien Library on Recommended Reading Order I’ve decided to continue on with Unfinished Tales and The Book of Lost Tales part One and Two for this month.
“I am in fact, a hobbit in all but size” J.R.R Tolkien
I have been enjoying a rather Hobbity holiday. This is usually the time of the year I start reading Lord of the Rings, and watching the movies (my new Blu Ray boxed set this year) but I don’t always read The Hobbit before I start LOTR, in fact I will usually read it later. Having read it directly before I started Fellowship of the Ring I was able to enjoy it more as a prequel, more than usual in any case. I sometimes forget the references to Dale and the Mountain during Bilbo’s birthday party, the last chapter in The Lord of the Rings in which we are still allowed to be children.
Italy, 1453. Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days.
Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape.
Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for himself, his mother, and his sister Mari. Ironically, the only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell. For as long as Han can remember, he’s worn thick silver cuffs engraved with runes. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.
I am (obviously) a huge Harry Potter fan They are some of my favourite books of all time, and they reside on my “shelf of honour”, the books that must be re-read each year. I am sure just as many other fans had the same trepidation I had when they first announced the movies.
I was sorting through my many spares of Harry Potter books the other day (the shelves on my ‘good’ bookcase are starting to bow) as I had just purchased some to sell. I had some US editions in hardcover. While I don’t mind the US editions I was never a huge fan of the artwork. I also hate the fact they changed the text in them, but that’s another rant.
I have two American collectors editions, which are fantastic, leather, super-bound, gorgeous pictures including an insert facsimile of an orginal J.K Rowling drawing of the Harry Potter gang. Those, of course, stay. Also, why didn’t they print them all? Seriously. The British deluxe editions pale in comparison.
It might have been 1987, perhaps a shade before, but I will stick to “when I was eleven years old” (and that is quite a stretch in memory) when I first saw Cluny the Scourge. On my oldest friend’s bookshelf, (she is still around and sharing books with me) sat a paperback copy of Redwall. A 1986 copy to be exact, with the original British cover illustrated by Pete Lyon. She was quite excited when she purchased it, as she had been reading her cousin’s copy on the weekends when visiting, and now she had one of her own. I was promised a loan of this marvelous book as soon as she had finished, and I was certainly intrigued, as she had filled me with tales of Abbeys and Mice and dastardly Sea Rats. I was convinced I had never read anything like it before and therefore it must be the greatest book written since any of my Enid Blytons. And then there was the superb illustration of Cluny on the cover, and surely he must be the greatest villain any mouse had to overcome.
I think most (if not all) devoted Harry Potter fans have suffered ‘Post-Potter-Depression’.
One you devoured your latest Potter in short order you were left with a feeling of loss. There was, after all, yet another year (or three) to go until your next adventure. Then there was the pre-release hype, the endless online discussions and speculation, the anticipation of once again diving into the world of Hogwarts and seeing your heroes triumph against adversity.