only the insight
the inside brings..."
An historical fantasy
which spans the present and the past, "Endymion Spring"
takes the basis of its
story from the facts surrounding the development of the
first printing press to
use movable type, in Mainz, Germany in 1452. Fantastic
events in that dark
medieval world reach their conclusion in the hallowed libraries
and halls of modern-day
Oxford. There is, you see, a mystical book made from
the skin of a tree dragon,
and it hides within it some miraculous secrets that
can only be unlocked by
a select few readers. This is no ordinary book, then,
but a living creation
that feeds and grows... and reveals....
Somehow this extraordinary
creation has found its way England's most famous
halls of learning, where
it is rediscovered by a transatlantic youngster, Blake
and his spunky younger
sister Duck. But even as Blake begins to unravel the
mysteries, so the members
of a secretive society scheme to take it for
their own. As we read
on, we learn how the book came to be, who it snared
and who sought its whereabouts
for their own wicked ways. We also learn
of Blake's fate,
of deceit and a literary pursuit that puts both his own and
his sister's life in grave
Highlight the text below to reveal an Endymion secret!Th
Endymion Spring is actually the name of the book's
"Endymion Spring" is an
event book. That is to say, it was published on
a big wave of publicity. Matthew
Skelton is a first-timer author and the rights
to his hot new novel have sold to
Warner Bros. for a very tidy sum. Which
might prove a mixed blessing.
Obviously, it's great to have your book garner
so much attention within the publishing
world. But there's also the baggage
of high expectation and the risk
of a failure that could end your career before
it's even begun. So with these notions
in the back of your mind, you turn
the first page and the book reveals...
A book of two halves, actually.
The good news is, it's a page-turner. It reads
well. It makes clever use of
historical fact. It's descriptive and it's also handsomely
presented. The UK dustjacket mixes
black scaled paper with golden foil, and
the binding is square and chunky,
in an olde worlde way. Inside its covers, the
two time frames of the story are
in fact printed on different paper. The present
day tale is standard black text on
clean white pages. Events of the past,
however, are set upon a grey-faded
parchment, mimicking the olde book itself.
There's even a torn corner, just
like the mythical creation. Each of the sections
ends on a suitable cliffhanger, to
be picked up in the next encounter.
But here's the rub. Whilst the book
itself is a fantastic creation, the stories
surrounding its secret transportation
from Germany and eventual re-discovery
aren't quite as inspiring. There's
lots of mystery to keep you reading, but
nothing too fantastic seems to
happen, until the pages of the book come
together at the climax, and we make
a spooky descent into the bowels of
the Bodleain Library...
Like the book at its heart,
which feeds off its readers so "Endymion Spring"
feeds off its contemporaries. It
takes its Oxford locations from "His Dark
Materials", its literary
magic from "Inkheart", and most noticably of all, its
blend of history and mystery comes
straight out of "The Da Vinci Code".
Yes, Mathew Skelton's novel
is Dan Brown for kids. And just as that
book divides its readership,
so too does "Endymion Spring"
On the one hand, those Oxford haunts
are vividly depicted, Blake's sense
of isolation is well conveyed, and
the first couple of visits to Mainz certainly
whet your mood for more. The sequence
in the Well of Souls - er - Books
at the end is inspired - it'll
look great on film. And there are times when the
author conjurs up a scene in
one fantastic line...
...But on the other hand, he
often trips over his shoelacing sentences.
He'll use some wildly descriptive
prose, when a little more brevity would
have sufficed. It's interesting
to note that the author is a former Oxford
scholar himself, who arrived
via America, just like the story's hero. His
historical conceits are clever, but
are they too clever for his audience?
After all, there aren't many
kids out there who can be familiar with the
history of the printing press.
Or maybe that's the point. We're to use
the book as a stepping-stone
Oh, do you see? - Like the gimic
of its two-colour pages, this book varies
from tight bright white to murky
grey. It's an enigma in a riddle for us
to decipher. "Endymion Spring"
opens up, beckons us inside...
but what does it reveal to you?
Keep your eye out for the special
signed edition of this book.
The title page sports the author's
signature, together with an official
red dragon stamp of authenticity...
UK Hardback edition.... UK
The UK publisher's web site...
In the US there's this handsome interactive
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