Monday, September 15, 2008

The Empress and the Acolyte - Jane Fletcher

The third volume in the Lyremouth series takes the story into new territory, beyond the original Lorimal's Chalice. The sequel fits right in with what's gone before and the handling of the interactions between Tevi the warrior and Jemeryl the sorcerer is ever more developed. The depiction of Jemeryl's feelings after hearing that Tevi is dead is painfully true to life and overall the writing is more assured than ever in this book. The plot and character motivations convince and it's a delight to spend yet more time in the company of the two leads. I hope there's still more to come!


Monday, September 1, 2008

Swallows & Amazons - Arthur Ransome

The first of Ransome's twelve classic books introduces us to the four Walker children (the Swallows) the two Blackett girls (the Amazons) and their eponymous boats. The lake, Uncle Jim and much else that will become familiar background in many of the remaining books is also introduced. It's hardly surprising that these stories have remained in print for some seventy-plus years: the writing is clear and unfussy while entering fully into the children's world and portraying events honestly and earnestly from their point of view. There's no layer of irony to attract a sophisticated reader: one has to engage with the adventure from the perspective of the protagonists; Ransome makes this not only possible but also a joy, even for the twenty-first century reader.