Meet Kline Maxwell. City Hall reporter for the Cleveland Press. He's the kind of guy who's seen it all-if "it all" includes a fellow reporter sprouting eyeballs all over his body....
That's just the beginning. Maxwell's assigned to a story about the crash-landing of a dragon in the Cuyahoga River. Typical of the stuff that's been happening since that magical Portal opened up. Seems like just another "fuzzy gnome" kind of story.
Since the magic Portal opened at the stadium in Cand about 10 years ago, not too much has changed for reporter Kline Maxwell, except that his laptop and cell phone don't work well in the Portal's magical zone. He's still a political reporter; he doesn't cover the "fuzzy gnome" stories about the dragons, elves, mages, or gargoyles that have emigrated through the Portal. Then Kline is called in to cover the story of a dragon, Aloeus, murdered by a sudden drain in the magical field created by a collection of powerful mages. Kline's whole life is turned upside down as he begins to investigate the reason a top-ranking city official was on the ship that disposed of the dragon's remains. He is kidnapped by elves, chased by the FBI, implicated in another reporter's death, dragged through various magic circles and ceremonies, all because he is getting too close to uncovering the person in city government who is killing off Aloeus' co-conspirators. Aloeus' group's goal was to open another Portal in Mexico and close the one in Ohio, providing the magical refugees with a more secure new homeland, but negatively impacting Cleveland's newfound tourism and source of tremendous wealth. (In fact, Disney was negotiating a theme park on the outskirts of the city at the time of Aloeus' murder.) The cover is cool, though the title is uninspiring and the writing is uneven. Kline is not the most compelling character, but the dragons and elves are neat, and so is the basic premise. There will be readership for this type of "fantasy turning modern-day life topsy-turvy" story. Category: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advancedstudents, and adults. 2001, DAW, 308p., Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Sherry S. Hoy; Libn., Tuscarora Jr. H.S., Mifflintown, PA
S. Andrew Swann lives in the Greater Cleveland area. He has a background in mechanical engineering. He has published twenty-three novels over the past eighteen years, which include science fiction, fantasy, and horror. His latest series is his epic space opera, the Apotheosis trilogy. He can be found at sandrewswann.com.