A man wakes up with no memory in a foreign land—Vermont—in this debut novel.
In 2110, a man finds himself in Middlesex in the country of Vermont, but there’s one problem —he has no idea where he came from or how he ended up in this unfamiliar territory. Dubbed Flatlander by the inhabitants, who include the swashbuckling King Henry, the wanderer is told that Vermont is now its own sovereignty, free from the rules and regulations of what the residents call the “Old Country.” King Henry and his court, prejudiced against Flatlanders to begin with, do not trust this newcomer because of his amnesia. But he will be offered citizenship if he completes 10 important quests for the monarch (“Quests that are designed to help the republic. Helping fix problems that have been festering for much too long. As Vermonters, we sometimes like to think that we’re immune to many of the problems that the rest of the world faces, yet that is not so”). Through demons, assassinations, political intrigue, a moose named Pete, and more, Flatlander must complete his tasks, figure out who he is, and be accepted by King Henry and his country—not an easy mission, to say the least. As Flatlander journeys through every inch of Vermont, he learns more about his past, his future, and the country that he is fighting to be a part of. Kranichfeld’s enthusiasm for epic fantasy novels is apparent in this work—it’s full of imaginative, irregular creatures and characters, which should inspire delight (or, in some cases, disgust) in readers. His prose remains dense but still seals in excitement, propelling the reader through Flatlander’s exploits. The explanatory footnotes included throughout the text are charming and helpful, adding more layers to the tale’s lore or aiding those readers unfamiliar with New England or Vermont. It is clear that the author has a deep love for the setting—he is creating perhaps a new genre of geographical fiction here, combining the culture and hallowed grounds of Vermont with the themes of a Homerian epic. Balling’s illustrations—simple sketches etched in black and white—add a mysterious air and a window to what to visualize as the tale proceeds. Lovers of adventure stories should certainly adore this book, and wait with bated breath for the next chapter.
A funny and fantastical spin through a future New England.