A new story and start of a series set in the world of Odom’s witty, enjoyable, action-filled hardcover fantasy debut (The Rover, 2001).
Liberated from goblin slavers by Edgewick the Lamplighter, the bookish librarian and “dweller” hero of The Rover, Juhg, another dweller, has grown bored with duties as an apprentice librarian inside the vast Vault of All Known Knowledge and has put to sea with his human buddy Raisho. Known aboard ship as a scribbler, Juhg spends his off hours writing in a notebook, sketching what happens to him, when he hears a rumor of a book in the possession of a mysterious goblin ship. Goblins aren’t known for their literary tastes and, books being rarities, Juhg and Raisho plot to overtake the ship and steal this one. After more than a hundred pages of swordplay, spell-casting, dueling with a supernatural snake and an evil wizard, they succeed and deliver the book to Edgewick, now Grandmagister of the Library. Examining the book, Edgewick and the wizard Craugh discover that it’s literally accursed: the pages open a magical gate through which tumble Dread Riders, Blazebulls, and Grymmlings, disgusting sprites that eat anything and everything. In battling the spell, Juhg, Edgewick, and Craugh uproot the library's magical underpinnings, destroying nearly all the books inside. Edgewick charges Juhg with writing a book about the catastrophe. Then off they go to find the source of the evil book, a search leading to apparent catastrophe: Craugh nearly dies, and Edgewick and Juhg are captured by the Goblin Wizard Aldhran. Edgewick reveals to Juhg that Aldhran is searching for the fabled Book of Time, an illuminated volume containing spells so powerful it can unmake the world. A last-minute escape sends Juhg in search of the book, with the goblin wizard close behind.
Though curiously lacking female characters, Odom's bouncy, funny, cliff-hanger adventure is perfect for the Potter crowd, with enough puns, wry asides, and satirical send-ups to amuse Tolkien fans.