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The Wingfeather Saga Book 1 by Andrew Peterson 

Fantasy novel which doesn’t preach yet has a hint of depth behind the tale - storytelling at its best

On the edgeThe Wingfeather Saga Book 1: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness
By Andrew Peterson
Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN No: 9781529359800 (also available as an eBook)
Reveiwed by Moira Kleissner

I am not a fan of fantasy novels. Lord of the Rings leaves me cold – OK, I’m the only person in the world that thinks so!

Therefore I approached this volume with some trepidation. But this, the first volume in the series of four books of The Wingfeather Saga, gripped me right from the beginning. Here is a book that draws you into its world using good storytelling techniques.

It is aimed at young adults/adults and  introduces you to the world of Aerwiar and the township of Glipwood, where the Igiby family live in their small cottage: grandfather Podo – an ex-pirate, mother with a secret, and the children Janner, Tink, and Leeli, a musician . Oh yes, not forgetting the dog Nugget.

There are “baddies” in the shape of the hideous Fangs of Dang who want the Jewels of Anniera – but what are they and where are they? There are legends, such as Gnag the Evil who ruled from Killridge Mountains and his hatred of the High King Wingfeather of the Isle of Anniera, the lost kingdom. There are Toothy Cows and Sea Dragons, a bookseller called Pete, a Sock Man and a plethora of other characters, some obviously bad, some good and some ambivalent. There is adventure, a puzzling back story to this close knit family and lots of humour too. I’d better not give too much away!

This is storytelling at its best. It doesn’t preach at you but there is a hint of depth behind the tale, not obvious, but leading you to want to find out more. This makes it, to my mind, much more palatable, than the fashion for fantasy stories with an obviously forced Christian message.

This would make an excellent bedtime story to share as a family. Or to curl up with yourself on a winter night with a nice cup/glass of something. I’ve enjoyed it, so much, to my surprise, that I think I might just buy the other three volumes in the series.

The author, Andrew Peterson, is a songwriter, author, storyteller, musician and joint founder of an organisation in Nashville, called The Rabbit Room – named after the room where Tolkien and CS Lewis met at the back of an Oxford pub, which Peterson himself visited and  was influenced by. The organisation seeks to build community through storytelling, art, poetry, music and liturgy. It has been influenced not only by Lewis and Tolkien but by authors such as GK Chesterton, Gerald Manley Hopkins and  others. You can visit their website and find out more.

Moira Kleissner is a retired Primary Deputy Head, storyteller, trainer and minister’s wife

Baptist Times, 24/09/2021
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