Michael Foreman is an award-winning children's book author and illustrator.
Gr 6-9-In this faux Viking saga, Jones's sense of narrative invention is much sharper than his way with the English language. While the author is, to be sure, deliberately attempting to create an approximation of the "bardic" voice, the effect is too often either stilted or static-and therefore somewhat irritating. (For this reason, the book's episodic nature actually works in its favor because readers need not feel driven to read more than one chapter, or adventure, at a time.) Briefly told, the "saga" narrates the adventures of the Viking warrior Erik and his men as they sail in search of the land "where the sun goes at night." Along the way, they meet the dangerous Old Man of the Sea; the terrifying Dogfighters; and enormous creatures whose heads are mounted in the centers of their chests. Erik and his men learn lessons along the way, test their courage and determination, and eventually, of course, "succeed." Fans of fantasy and science fiction may get caught up in the "mythic" elements and speedy action of the tales without minding their often clumsy style. But they would be much better served by the far more noteworthy books by Susan Cooper, Joy Chant, and John Christopher, to say nothing of J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and maybe even the Norse sagas themselves. Far and away the most notable feature of this book is Foreman's watercolor artwork.-Coop Renner, Coldwell Elementary-Intermediate School, El Paso, TX Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.