"Here, There Be Dragons begins in a WWI London that is both comfortable and familiar, but quickly moves into a fantastic world of myth and magic. There, talking animals drive steam-powered cars; the Green Knight watches over the remnants of a fallen kingdom; and a legendary mapmaker sits in a tower made of time itself.... In James Owen's Archipelago of Dreams, living Dragonships take the heroes and readers into places so filled with wonder that you never want the dreams to end."
Kai Meyer, author of The Water Mirror
"Is there anyone who wouldn't enjoy reading Here, There Be Dragons? If there is such a person, I haven't met him, and I doubt that I would like him if I did. I am only disappointed that, because this book is so new, I'll have to wait too long to read the sequels."
Orson Scott Card, author of Ender's Game
Owen's (the Mythworld series) clever story construction which essentially starts with a twist ending and works backwards allows for a lively hodgepodge of myth, legend and adventure story. On March 15 ( la Julius Caesar), 1917, a London professor is killed with a Roman spear, "of a make and composition that hasn't been forged in over a thousand years." His dying effort is to dispatch an arcane book to John, his student. The book turns out to be the Imaginarium Geographica, containing "all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale." John and two companions, Jack and Charles, must flee from a group of cannibal beasts who will stop at nothing to obtain it, and end up aboard the 16th-century ship of the diminutive and mysterious Bert, who knew the professor and knows even more about the book. Their travels lead them through Arthurian legend, pre-Biblical flood tales, dragon lore and the works of Jules Verne to name just a few with hints of Narnia along the way. Their mission to defeat the Winter King is linked to the real-world events of the Great War. The conclusion which may not come as much of a surprise to attentive readers reveals the true identity of the three main characters, whose future books are populated with the things they've seen on their journey. Like some of M. Night Shyamalan's films, this book might be seen more as a parlor trick than as literature, but it certainly has its pleasures. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Brought together after Oxford professor Sigurdsson is murdered, John, Jack, and Charles are approached by Bert, who possesses the Imaginarium Geographica, oratlas of the Archipelago of Dreams. The book had been protected by Sigurdsson, who was to entrust it to John. It is 1917, and World War I is destroying Europe. Bert explains that the war reflects occurrences on the Archipelago; the destinies of the two worlds are entwined. With the fate of mankind at stake and pursued by evil creatures, the men escape to Bert's ship and set sail for the Archipelago, land of imagination. The Archipelago is made up of islands with geographies and populations familiar to any fantasy enthusiast. The lands have fallen prey to the dreadful Winter King as he fights to claim the Silver Throne. John and friends try to save this world, learning that the Imaginarium, the Ring of Power, and the aid of dragons are needed if they are to succeed. Allied with Elves, Dwarves, satyrs, and fauns, the humans fight an epic battle to restore peace and proclaim the rightful king. From the arresting prologue, the reader is gripped by a finely crafted fantasy tale and compelled to continue. An homage to great, imaginative literature, Arthurian legend, and mythology, this superb saga has interesting characters and plenty of action. The marvelous ending reveals the true identities of John, Jack, and Charles-famous fantasy writers. Owen's magnificent story, which he also beautifully illustrated, will appeal to all fantasy fans grades six through adult.
On a rainy night in 1917 London, three young men meet for the first time on the doorstep of a murdered professor. John is given The Imaginarium Geographica, a book so valuable that many would kill to own it. Chased by eerie figures, John and the two other men flee across the sea and into a fantastical land of dreams and nightmares. There they begin a quest to keep the book out of the hands of those who would use it for their own ends, and to place the True King on the throne where he belongs, if only they can find him.... The three men in the book are J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams, and it's a treat to hunt for the literary Easter eggs in the story, though the author is clever enough to add twists to keep you on your toes. This astonishing book is just what a literary pastiche ought to be, and one hopes there are more adventures to be chronicled in this universe. (The Chronicles of the Imaginatium Geographica.). KLIATT Codes: JSA--Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2006, Simon & Schuster, 326p., $17.95.. Ages 12 to adult.
Gr 8 Up-Three Oxford men, brought in for questioning in a London professor's death in 1917, become companions on a voyage through the Archipelago of Dreams where they vanquish a usurper and restore the rightful king, proving themselves worthy to be Caretakers of the Imagination of the World. The three men are Jack (C. S. Lewis), John (J. R. R. Tolkien), and Charles (Williams-a lesser known writer of fantasy thrillers who belonged to the same Oxford literary discussion group, the Inklings). Their identities aren't revealed until the end, along with the premise that their journey became the wellspring for their subsequent fiction. This twist accounts for the extensive use of material from their various imaginations. Readers who have not begun with the publisher's blurb might find the bulk of the story tediously derivative, but those with extensive reading background in both fantasies and mythology may be keen to identify the allusions. The pen-and-ink illustrations, also allusive, include the playing-card royalty of Lewis Carroll and knights that might have been drawn by Howard Pyle. The story itself is unconvincing. The three strangers are quickly identified as "friends," although they have shared nothing more than an after-interrogation drink and apparent abduction. Although John is Caretaker Principia and the apparent focus, only Jack's character is developed enough to change, and youth seems to be the only reason for his flirtation with the forces of evil. It is a series of lucky encounters that sets them on their "quest" and solves the problems that arise. Only for fans of fan fiction.-Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
This ambitious fantasy falls short of the mark. Three young men meet in 1917 London, and find themselves embroiled in a dangerous quest to protect a magical book. The men are fantasy authors C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams, and the fantasy world they've entered will be familiar to many. They encounter gods and monsters from Greek, Welsh and Egyptian myth, fauns, satyrs and talking beasts alongside rings of power and talking packs of cards. Unfortunately, the muddled mishmash leads to something rather less than the sum of its parts; there's no rhyme or reason to the interconnectivity of the stories. Moreover, in a world magically created by those writers who comprise "much of the cultural and scientific history of the entire human race"-a list composed nearly entirely of northern European men-is there any reason that an evil overlord straight out of British mythology has Asian features? Clumsy racial stereotyping was forgivable in 1917, but much less so nearly a century later. (Fantasy. 11-13)First printing of 100,000; $100,000 ad/promo