This philosophical and dialogue-driven medieval fantasy immediately opens on a puzzling situation, which is always a great way to start a book, as our initially unnamed hero awakens in a strange place, with no memory of who he is or how he got there. One thing which is very soon clear is that he is from a time and culture vastly different to the dark ages he now finds himself in, though he has no recollection of how he acquired the hugely impressive combat skills which he is very soon required to put to good use. For the large portion of this book, he then proceeds to overlook this riddle, instead opting to make the best of life in his strange environment. What follows is a metaphorical analogy of a tale, as the more of his contemporary technological and diplomatic knowledge he puts to use, the more renowned he becomes, and in turn more powerful, in turn enabling him to teach more. Working his way up the ladder in this young civilization, he begins to impart and put into practice modern-day cultural concepts of trade, industry, capitalism and democracy, enabling a pathway of peace between warring races.
As the book continues, and Laev (which he later names himself) starts to accrue disciples and apostles, it hints at starting to come together more rapidly toward the closing chapters, and explanation of the enigma of the existence of the celestially-chosen saviour in this plain starts to become more apparent; the culmination of this book is then a good one, and satisfying. As Laev goes about his business with ruthless indifference and ambition, as the reader, you observe patiently and wait for the explanation to come – thankfully, it does.
English is not Gourm’s first language, though he is undoubtedly an intelligent, thoughtful and highly articulate author, and the book is as eloquent as any you’ll read. Whilst the author holds up his hands in the foreword and acknowledges his language discrepancy, there is really no need. The book is written entirely in the present tense, and when added to the philosophical and occasionally obscure internal dialogue of the principle, this creates an interesting profundity in his reflection. I am not usually a fan of the present tense, in a book which is not narrated from the first-person viewpoint, but in …Hero’s case, it works.
This is to all extents and
purposes a fairly simple and decent parable, which for once actually seems to commend
the virtues of modern-day society, and the benefits of civilized attitudes toward
mankind’s progress, rather than criticizing them - which makes a hugely
refreshing change. Overall, An Unwanted
and Unwilling Hero is a profound, thought-provoking and intelligent book, for
readers who like their fantasy metaphorical, philosophical and discerning. A good book, which I enjoyed a great deal.
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In : Book Reviews
Tags: e-gourm fantasy medieval gods