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What I just read, my first book of the Millenium! The Green Prince Book Review

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  • Amy Harlib
    Just read this fantasy novel, my review of which will be posted at the websites where my writing regularly appears (the troll.net, rambles.net and Blue Iris
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 30, 2000
      Just read this fantasy novel, my review of which will be posted at the
      websites where my writing regularly appears (the troll.net, rambles.net and
      Blue Iris Journal),but I wanted to share with you folks first! Thanks!
      The Green Prince by Sophie Masson, (Hodder Headline Australia, Sydney, Oct.
      2000, $16.49 AUS, trade paperback, ISBN#: 0-7336-0791-8).
      Sophie Masson, an Australian expert on medieval European history and
      folklore who also happens to be the author of a number of excellent fantasy
      novels that express her interests, is finally getting her work published in
      Great Britain. One of her books has been made available in the USA so far by
      a small, independent publisher. Her latest work, released in Australia,
      (but easily obtainable on the Internet), is one of her best yet and deserves
      much wider distribution and attention.
      'The Green Prince', using Welsh and Celtic myth and folklore pertaining to
      the watery worlds and the denizens thereof of streams, rivers and the sea
      as its source of inspiration, is set in medieval England and opens in the
      small provincial village of Crundall. This is where the protagonist,
      16-year-old orphan Jack Fisher with his eccentric affinity for aquatic
      environs and the fisherman's trade makes his home.
      Immediately, Masson's shimmering poetic prose style sweeps the reader into
      the story, for the text is so rich in vivid description, background detail
      and emotional intensity that, the characters and plot spring to life. Jack,
      enjoying the annual local Fair, is mesmerized by the 'exhibit' in this
      year's freak show---a powerful-looking merman whose telepathic
      communications convince him that he is genuine. Vagan, the ambassador from
      the undersea Green Kingdom, is actually on a mission to find the hero needed
      to fight the fearsome Grimlow, Monster of Darkness, Master of the Abyss and
      Jack, by reason of his mysterious heritage (later to be revealed), responds
      to the call to meet his destiny.

      Jack, absconding with Vagan and aided by the amusing, froglike Shellycoat
      (the local spring-spirit), embarks on the adventure of his life gripped by
      confusion, doubts and the requisite excitement. Mer-magic enables the
      protagonist to function underwater with total ease as he undertakes a
      classic quest which involves journeying through the river province of the
      Lady Tam and the mysterious realm of Fanach of the Lake until the climax in
      the Green Kingdom ruled by the refreshingly female, eponymous Green Prince.
      Jack's life-transforming experiences in the water-world involve encounters
      with colorful characters out of lore and legend: selkies and kabyls
      (kelpies), and the like and most importantly, the half-human, strong and
      spirited Linn (to be the love of his life), Heiress of Fanach.
      Masson's descriptions of the undersea realms and their inhabitants are
      delightfully imaginative, atmospheric, and full of wonder and inventiveness
      with such set pieces as: Lady Tam's 'river cattle' and their magical
      connections to the origins of amber (!); the 'soul cages'; and the oddly
      computeresque, silvery, translucent sea-books being most memorable and
      affecting. Of course, all this and Jack's utterly believable hesitations,
      fears and uncertainties lead up to the confrontation with the terrifying
      Grimlow, an effectively resonant representation of the dark force, the evil
      monster that lurks not only in the literal Abyss, but also in the depths of
      all human hearts. How Jack copes with this trial, resolved in a classically
      folkloric manner, is both dramatically and emotionally satisfying and a
      fitting conclusion to this lovely fantasy. 'The Green Prince' is so
      colorfully aquatic, awash with swift-flowing, exciting plotting, with the
      deeper meanings a shining subtext serving to enhance the book's evocative
      entertainment value, that the diligent reader willing to fish for it in the
      vast ocean of the Internet, will be richly rewarded!
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