The BOOKS of KNOWLEDGE, The LEGEND of ALM an e-book published and written by Graham M. Irwin.
Plot: Basically difficult to describe. Having lost his mother and with his brother gone, a teen age boy decides to travel to another area (country, town?) in the Land of Alm to find his father who had departed to earn more money. His present residence appears to be quite primitive, filled with unusual named beasts and hunting a way of life. The journey begins and he encounters a huge type of extremely viscous and dangerous wolf whom he manages to turn into a faithful travelling companion. The trip becomes greatly extended when his first stop is in a somewhat more advanced settlement where he meets a charming young lady and her mother who make him want to linger. Suddenly however, the mother, who is part of a secret protective group for a legendary set of Books of Knowledge about the beginnings of their world, fears the volume that is in her custody will be taken from her. She consigns it to his care with instructions to deliver it to a specific person in another part of the realm. He makes the delivery successfully, but faces more changes in his itinerary when he becomes responsible for the entire set of books, finds that the young lady whom he met earlier also has become part of the secret protectorate. The extensive ensuing trips are fraught with danger and lead to increasingly more advanced civilizations in cities with more sophisticated, albeit less friendly, people with their attendant problems. All of the while he must protect the Books of Knowledge until he finally discovers a way to make them useful to ‘save Alm’.
Discussion: The author has written a fantasy that will have a certain amount of appeal to readers who delight in pure fantasy. For those less ‘dedicated’ to the genre, the going might be a bit more difficult. The jump from most of the world seemingly being rather unsophisticated and under developed to one advanced ‘city state’ with all modern conveniences and even capability of setting off an atomic bomb, is quite a jolt. Especially when such development appears to coexist in a world with no evidence of any type of communication among its inhabitants. Additionally, although initially the book appears to tend toward young adult readers, the language denies such a target audience. With its wandering into depictions of the protectorate’s descent into ridiculous discussions and similar mention of other features evident in today’s way of life, it also brings allegory to mind, but again doesn’t follow through. Thus, one seems to be forced to settle for the aforementioned theme of pure fantasy. As an aside, the action and characters were presented in an uncomfortably ‘stilted’ manner.
Conclusion: Regrettably from this reader’s perspective, this is a tale more specifically for pure fantasy devotees who also are able to overlook several accompanying problems.
3* Perhaps 4* for those fantasy devotees described; 2* or less for others.