THE STARLINGS OF AVALON by William of Suffolk


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One of our shires is missing, and it's up to a medieval Sherlock to figure out where it went.

Don't think CSI Sherwood Forest: There's almost no action here, but a lot of talk. It's merrie olde 1159, and William the Scribbler, the "justiciar" hero of the author's Fibs! (2006), has been down to the Chancelerie to suss out what happened vis-a-vis enfeoffements and all that to the possessions of one Filsbert of Derby, "Aldercroft of the King." There is much that portends Tolkien pastiche, or at least a mangling of the world the likes of T.H. White and Ellis Peters have so carefully laid out, but in the pages that follow, William of Suffolk–that's the nom de ordinateur of a retired state employee out Long Island way–at least moderates the accursed punning and leaden language of his debut. Moderates, but does not eschew: The sensitive reader will reach for something else on hitting sentences such as "You snotty little whine merchant!" and "The Princessapality's picnic grounds were to the south, alongside the little stream." Those picnic grounds at least afford a steady stream of ants to the culinarily adventurous William the Scribbler, who invents a sort of proto-nacho on the occasion. Said reader may prefer that sting to the cheeks and unholy crunch to the fare that's offered here, but it's evident that the author is having his fun, the literal facts of history be hanged, and that, it would seem, is the point, and it's all harmless enough–small commendation, to be sure.

"How can people be so picky?" William the Latter complains. Let us count the ways.

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7414-4020-2
Page count: 376pp
Program: Kirkus Indie
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