Today’s team review is from Sue. She blogs here https://suelbavey.wordpress.com/
Sue has been reading The Fellowship Of The Flame by A. R. Silverberry
The Fellowship of the Flame is a short YA prequel novella set in the fantasy realm of Purpura, the same setting as Silverberry’s award winning novel “Wyndano’s Cloak”.
Despite its short length it is engaging, exciting and has a main character, Cap who is a wholesome ten-year-old hero who is full of heart. Brave and kind, we meet him stealing breakfast from the evil usurper Queen in order to feed his gang, and the hungry children of the slave village, ‘Desperation’.
During this escapade, the Queen ends up with whipped cream on her face, much to the delight of Cap’s gang when he tells them about it. The resistance to the queen’s rule is known as the ‘Fellowship of the Flame’, and Cap longs to become a member but alas, they do not accept children. He thinks his stunt with the queen’s breakfast may change their leader’s mind however and hopes to find the location of the Fellowship’s next meeting:
““On her face?” Rabbit asked. “Dripping off her nose,” Cap replied. They stared at him as if he were a god. “That oughta cinch us a place in the resistance,” he said, when he’d finished his tale.”
A younger version of Robin Hood perhaps? He is certainly full of empathy and compassion. Cap’s Gang of four comprises himself as leader, Falcon, Rabbit and Sparrow. I especially liked Rabbit’s endearing pronunciation of potato as ‘tapato’. The gang brought to mind the Lost Boys from Peter Pan, with their brave and fearless daredevil leader.
The Queen is understandably none too happy about her breakfast being stolen and the fact she ended up with whipped cream on her face so she recruits a relentless tracker, Caggrill, to hunt down Cap and bring him to her:
“Caggril the Great, Caggril the Tracker, Caggril the Man Hunter, who mopped up four battalions with a handful of soldiers.”
From this point the pace of the novella picks up and an exciting chase takes place through varying types of countryside:
“Maybe he could lose Caggril in the brush. The man was stronger, his legs longer, but the low shrubs would slow him down, and the silky darkness would obscure signs of Cap’s flight. He took a random course through thickets, zigzagging, circling, scurrying left and right, gradually climbing higher. Let him puzzle that out!”
The world-building in this story is excellent, with locations ranging from a medieval style town, the Shady Bone tavern, a castle, forested land and a dangerous swamp. I loved Silverberry’s descriptive turn of phrase:
“The biggest danger in the swamp were the insects—mosquitoes, poisonous spiders, and especially devil babies. An old gypsy told him that when a group of them sang, like rattling bones, it was an omen of someone’s death.”
Makken is the brave and fearless leader of the Fellowship and Tich is his second in command whose name means “friend” in the common tongue. Tich is sent to accompany Cap while they try and figure out if he is genuine or a spy. We see Cap struggle with a moral dilemma regarding his tracker and make the right decision, albeit one that is not so great for his own chances of survival.
The Fellowship of The Flame is definitely worth spending a couple of hours with – I thoroughly enjoyed it and went straight to the author’s website to see what else was available. I am hoping my thirteen year old will read and enjoy it as much as I did.
A deadly hunter …
A boy with an ill-fated dream …
Only one can survive.
Caggril, ruthless mercenary and tracker, needs enough gold to release himself from the Purpuran army. Only then can he leave war behind and seek the near mythical land of Aerdem, by all reports a paradise.
Cap, a ten-year-old street urchin, knows it’s mad to attack the brutal queen of Purpura. But he’s hell-bent on realizing his dream. To join the Purpuran resistance, the Fellowship of the Flame.
Bent on revenge, the queen promises to free Caggril from his bond if he brings the boy back. But Cap has other problems. He learns that the queen is setting a trap for the resistance. With a wolf on his tracks and time running out, he has to warn the Fellowship. Or good people will die.
From the boundless imagination of A. R. Silverberry comes the first book in a breathtaking new fantasy series, The Chronicles of Purpura, tales of the brave deeds leading up to his award-winning novel, Wyndano’s Cloak.