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THE POISON OF THORNS: The Dragon's Back #1

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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 … see full wiki

1 review about THE POISON OF THORNS: The Dragon's Back...

Complete and complex fantasy world. Slow story with effective analogies

  • Jun 4, 2012
Rating:
+2
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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