I want to convince you, yes you, to read this book. I don’t care if you’ve never read a book in the fantasy genre before, and I don’t care if you think it is a kids book just because it has a princess on the cover. You have to read this book because this book will teach you about love.
I have read this book about twenty times in the twenty five years since I first bought it. I’m not kidding. No, it doesn’t change every time, and no I’m not really finding new things every time I read it. The story isn’t that complicated. I keep going back to this story and the people in this book for the same reason I travel long distances to see my family. I miss them. I just want to hang out with them for a few days, to live inside their world, to watch them struggle and deal with each other and life and love and death and sorrow and joy.
This book is the first of four books in the series, A Man of His Word. Well, actually there are eight books. The second group of four books take place about sixteen years after the events in the first four. I don’t even need to talk about the rest of the series, because I know that if you read the first one, you wont be able to stop.
I wrote about Dave Duncan and Love in an earlier post, but I want to reiterate, I’ve never encountered an author so well versed in the varieties of the love we humans express for each other.
So what makes this book so great? I have no idea. When I figure that out, I will apply it to my own writing and I will become a best selling author. I believe the only reason Dave Duncan isn’t better known, is because he has stayed inside the fantasy/sci-fi genre his whole writing career. I read his books over and over, and I still can’t figure out his secret for creating incredibly real people. I mean people who you know so well by the end of the book, you feel like you’ve known them forever. His language isn’t fancy, the plot isn’t all that dramatic, the setting isn’t mind blowing. It is all very simple really.
Maybe that is the secret. That if you pare down all the fluff around the story, and just concentrate on the core – the people – you have the energy and time to make living, breathing characters. Keep it simple, and let the characters tell the story. Maybe.
All I know is when I am feeling lonely, all I need to do is pick up this book to feel like I am surrounded by friends.