The Barnes & Noble Review
The back-story to Clive Woodall's sensational debut novel is nothing short of a real-life fairy tale: A grocery store produce manager writes a bedtime story for his two sons; it gets published internationally and is optioned by Disney in a million-dollar movie deal! The book -- which has been compared to Richard Adams's Watership Down and J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy -- is an allegorical saga about one heroic robin's quest to save "Birddom" from a gang of power-hungry magpies bent on wiping out all other birds.
After witnessing the murder of his mate at the talons of a band of magpies, Kirrick -- the last robin left in all of Birddom -- desperately flies to Tanglewood to ask Tomar, a wise old owl, for help. Realizing that something must be done before the magpies kill off more species and upset nature's precarious balance forever, Tomar sends Kirrick on three dangerous quests to try to win the support of the falcons, the eagles, and the seabirds. Constantly hunted by the magpies, Kirrick must rely on his wits and the help of some unlikely friends to survive. But even with the support of the majestic birds of prey, can the forces of good stand up against an evil that will do anything to see every other bird destroyed?
While the novel may be deemed inappropriate by some parents of elementary-school-age children (there are a few brutally violent scenes, as well as a reference to a rape), there is no doubt that Woodall's wondrous novel will be remembered decades from now as a cherished tale filled with beloved characters and invaluable life lessons -- especially if Disney comes out with a big-budget animated motion picture. Prediction: One for Sorrow, Two for Joy will be the first book in a lengthy series, à la Brian Jacques's Redwall Abbey saga. Paul Goat Allen
At the start of "One for Sorrow," the opening half of British author Woodall's savage first novel, Birddom's very existence is threatened. Magpies, under the dictatorship of the treacherous Slyekin, have ruthlessly wiped out many bird species. A wise old owl, Tomar, asks plucky young Kirrick-evidently the sole robin to survive the holocaust-to undertake three dangerous journeys in order to enlist the aid of feathered allies. Kirrick proves that one brave little bird can make a big difference against "planned systematic genocide." The second section, "Two for Joy," allows Kirrick's mate, Portia, to prove her mettle. Contrary to the hype in the U.K. press, this avian fantasy lacks the depth of that modern animal classic, Watership Down. Nor, with its scenes of defecation, disembowelment and magpie rape, does it have much in common with The Lord of the Rings. Even the good birds execute summarily and employ mass murder. Still, given the compelling plot of "One for Sorrow" in particular, one can understand why Disney has optioned the novel "in a million-dollar deal." It should make a wonderful Disney feature-length cartoon, suitably sanitized. Agent, William Clarke. (Jan. 4) Forecast: Despite the book's billing as "written by a father to entertain his sons," adult readers may find the story too simplistic while younger readers may be troubled by the high violence level. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
A malignant evil is creeping across the land of Birddom. The time for birdsong has passed and survival depends on silence. A dark covenant of magpies, led by a sadistic dictator called Slyekin, plots the demise of lesser birds and the revered Council of Owls. The last of his species, a lone robin named Kirrick is driven by revenge to undermine their total domination. Trying to flee an unrelenting chase, the tiny bird struggles to survive an onslaught of murdering magpies, led by Slyekin's top henchman, Traska. An unyielding foe, Traska haunts Kirrick's every move as the small bird tries to rally others to aid in the fight. But Kirrick is not alone in his quest to save Birddom. Tomar, an elder owl from the Council hopes to foil Slyekin's master plan, but he hasn't heard from Kirrick since the beginning of the attack. Has the little bird accomplished his mission or was it just folly to send such a small creature up against such brutality? A war erupts and another deadly leader emerges. This time a son steps up to take down his father. The division of good verses evil aligns unlikely allies between species and forges some unusual packs. Although evil and hatred run deep, love and goodness simmer below the surface. Heart felt scenes and deep emotions guarantee the reader will feel the intensity of the hunt; understand how deep the evil and the extent to which it can flourish. The violence and some adult scenes are not recommended for younger children, but teens to adult will turn page after page to see how the saga unfolds. 2005, Ace Books, Ages 12 up.
The land of Birddom lies in the grip of the foul magpies and their crow cousins, who launch a reign of terror that causes the deaths of many avians. When a small robin named Kirrick decides to take a stand, he undertakes a journey to rally other birds to the cause of life and freedom, from the great eagles to the wise owls and even winning the help of unlikely allies. In the tradition of Richard Adams's Watership Down and Tad Williams's Tailchaser's Song, Woodall's epic tale of great deeds and small creatures offers a bird's-eye view of courage and sacrifice. For most fantasy collections. [First published in Britain, this debut fantasy has been optioned for film adaptation by Disney.-Ed.] Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Already optioned by Disney, this British bestseller by first-time author (and ex-grocer) Woodall describes an avian civil war, with the crows and magpies trying to exterminate every other species. Although the comparisons to Watership Down are inevitable, this is a highly original animal fantasy that, options notwithstanding, sounds much less like a Disney cartoon than one might expect. Set amid the fens and woodlands of the winged realm of Birddom, it envisions a dystopian world where the loathsome magpies (carrion birds who have overpopulated and grown fat from their rich diet of highway roadkill) have made common cause with the equally parasitical crows to kill off all rival bird-life and set themselves up as the unchallenged dictators of the sky. Their leader is the cruel and perverted Slyekin, who (with his bloodthirsty lieutenant Traska) strikes terror into even the blackest hearts of his fellow magpies. Ruthlessly killing all smaller species they encounter, the magpies initially make good headway on their genocidal dreams, even to the point of killing Kirrick, the last robin known in Birddom. Or so they think. For the noble Kirrick has actually eluded Slyekin's assassins and has made his way to the Great Owl Tomar, a survivor of the once-mighty Council of Owls. Old, weary and wise, Tomar encourages Kirrick to reconvene the long-since scattered Council as a means of fighting off the assault of the magpies, and Kirrick sets out secretly to rouse birds to fight for their survival. Along the way, he is helped by Portia, another robin who has managed to save herself from the magpies, and the two scheme their way through the talons of the magpies with all the wile of Ulysses. Despite theNew Age idioms, Woodall keeps his story light and its pace quick, suggesting parallels between animal warfare and the human world but never overwhelming us with message. Film rights optioned by Disney. Agent: William Clark, on behalf of Ed Victor/Ed Victor Ltd.