From Publishers Weekly
Nebula and World Fantasy awards-winner Wolfe's new novel-the first half of a massive epic-is a reminder that no one gets called a great writer without being first of all a great storyteller. This wonderful story is narrated by a teenage boy who wanders into a universe of interlocking magical realms. Transformed into a powerful man by an elf queen, he first calls himself a knight, Sir Able of the High Heart, then begins growing into that role. Wolfe doesn't just rearrange the cliches of sword and sorcery fiction; he recreates the genre. Sorcerous knowledge is important to Sir Able's survival, but muscle and steel count for a lot too, while sympathetic curiosity and self-awareness may be even more crucial. Though beautifully told, the novel is not exactly Wolfe Lite; much of the plot underlying the action remains obscure. Able realizes that there's a lot he doesn't comprehend, some of it because knowledge was stolen from him. He must gain (or regain) understanding of the worlds around him and of himself. In this respect, Wolfe's tale somewhat resembles the quest in David Lindsay's visionary masterpiece, A Voyage to Arcturus. Whatever its literary antecedents or its ultimate destination, however, this is a compelling, breathtaking achievement.
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Critics can't wait for The Wizard
, the promised sequel to The Knight
. The award-winning Wolfe has written many fantasy books, but this one, full of imagination and panache, is among his best. The story starts with a convincing if unreliable narrator--after all, the protagonist is a boy in a man's body, and can't, to humorous ends, discern motives. At times, Wolfe's foreshadowing may confuse the reader, and the form--a long letter penned to Ben--might not please traditional fantasy fans. Luckily, short, adventure-filled chapters capture the reader's attention. Wolfe, the Washington Post
concludes, "not only entertains, he invests his work with a complexity and trickiness that place him among the most important American novelists of our time." To be continued.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.