Author Robert Dennis Wilson has created a fascinating and complex world for his Dragonsback chronicles, detailing its customs, places and characters in extensive tables and appendices at the back of the book. The story itself is filled with analogies from Christian faith and the Bible, evoking Pilgrim’s Progress and other books of that type. An underlying theme of thorns representing our self-inflicted wounds of guilt and unforgiveness is very nicely drawn.
Two boys, marooned in an orphanage, are suddenly released to search for the truth of their parents’ deaths. One follows the path of the Gryphon while the other is snared by the Dragon. Only time and further volumes will tell if both boys find and fulfill their destinies.
The story’s slowed at the start with lots of characters, long explanations and a well-rendered but hard to read dialect. “’Tis but a small vic’try I’ve won in comin’ here when seen through Your eyes…” the grandfather prays, thanking the Gryphon “for puttin’ me in m’place.” But the religious analogies are always clear, from a bridge to nowhere with Jumpin’ Jack assisting suicides to the hard-won chains of pride. The language is somewhat formal and didactic, with hymn-like verses interspersed, lots of teaching opportunities used to good effect, and some beautiful images. Particularly interesting and well-explained is the use of swords to convey information—a technique that might inspire a safer form of pretend swordplay among children.
An outer story where a boy listens to the telling of the tale distracted me as a reader but probably works better for someone reading this novel to children. The chapters might work well for Sunday school lessons, making use of the story’s slowness and providing a reason for the formal phrasing.
Disclosure: I received a free ecopy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review.
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About the reviewer
Sheila Deeth (SheilaDeeth)
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
Robert Dennis (Bob) Wilson resides in Florida with his wife, Joyce, and their long-haired Finnish Spitz, Lady. They have 4 married children and 5 grandsons, scattered from coast to coast. Besides writing novels, Bob is a singer-songwriter and a scroll saw artist. He works full time telecommuting from home as a programmer/Report Designer for an international transportation corporation. Before meeting the love of his life, Bob actually received a BABE degree in college: that is, a "Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Education" from Washington Bible College, Lanham, MD. He has worked in various support roles for churches, missions, and para-church organizations. Bob continues to have an active role in his current church. The second volume in this trilogy, "MY BROTHER'S KEEPER: The Dragon's Back #2" is in final preparation for publishing and is expected to be out in various formats in December of 2010. Bob is also working on a four volume Science Fiction "Earth - The Arena" series. The first book,"THE PLAYERS: Earth - the Arena # 1," has inter-dimensional visitors, psychic experimentation, the threat of inter-dimensional warfare, disappearing people, lots of action, and enough romance to keep it interesting. Science Opened a Doorway - Something Came Through! "The Players" is available as both an e-book and as a paperback. Bob's blog: robtdwilson.wordpress.com His writing website: www.robtdwilson.com Facebook: facebook.com/rdwilson The ...