CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 19 . . . . January 20, 2012
The Fathomless Fire. (The Perilous Realm, Book Two).
Toronto, ON: Doubleday Canada, 2012.
380 pp., trade pk., $21.95.
Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.
Review by Ronald Hore.
Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.
“Hello,” said a voice.
Will raced for the door.
“Wait!” said the voice, although it was not quite a voice. More like the hollow echo of a voice. “Why do they always run away?” it muttered.
Much to his own surprise, Will didn’t flee out of the door and down the stairs. Instead he stopped, turned and faced the shadow. He wasn’t sure why, but it was at least partly the certainty, deep down, that this impossible thing had come from that other world he had visited, and was hoping to return to.
His dad’s voice boomed from the livingroom below” “What’s going on up there?”
“Sorry,” Will shouted. “Just dropped something.”
The shadow of someone who wasn’t there moved away from Will’s own shadow, towards the corner of the room. An old saggy armchair stood there, on which Will piled his clothes at the end of the day. The shadow-person raised a shadow-hand and gestured to the shadow of the chair.
The Fathomless Fire is the second volume in a trilogy, “The Perilous Realm.” In the first book, The Shadow of Malabron, readers were introduced to the main characters. Will Lightfoot is a modern teenager who accidently finds himself in the magical Realm and the land of Fable, where childhood stories actually exist and where the land is under threat by an evil villain, Malabron. There, Will meets the lovely Rowen and her grandfather. The Fathomless Fire opens with Will back at home, worried about his friends, and receiving a mysterious message that one of them is in danger. Naturally, he finds his way back to the Realm, and the adventures begin again. This tale is told from two points of view, that of Will Lightfoot, and that of Rowen, who has discovered she has certain powers.
In the first book, Will is older than Rowen. In the second book, because of the differences in the speed of the passage of time between our world and the Realm, they are closer in age. This gives readers an opportunity for a hint of romance. The problem is they keep being separated.
Will meets up with a pair of knights of the Errantry, and, with them, he leaves the town of Fable on a quest to rescue a friend, Shade, a large talking wolf readers met in The Shadow of Malabron. As the forces of darkness gather, Rowen, in her turn, has to flee Fable to go and seek her missing uncle who has been kidnaped. Her companion on her search is Riddle, a mysterious shape-changer, travelling in the form of a domestic cat.
They have several adventures, and The Fathomless Fire closes with Will and Rowen reunited. They are still searching for her uncle who may be held in the Shadow Realm, the home of the chief villain, Malabron, who wants to destroy all stories but his own dark tale. His forces are on the march toward Fable.
In many ways, certain plot-lines may be familiar, but they could also be considered basic for many a good fantasy story. Although a benefit, it would not be necessary to have read the first volume of the trilogy in order to enjoy The Fathomless Fire. At 380 pages divided into 24 chapters, with quests, monsters, magic, battles, and dire perils abounding, this book should appeal to the young reader who enjoys fantasy and adventure. I suspect many older readers will enjoy the tale as well.
Ronald Hore, involved with writer’s groups for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.
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