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Book Review

Book Cover

Returner's Wealth (Hardback)


Authors: Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
RRP: £12.99
ISBN: 978 0 385 61733 8
Available 29 April 2010

Betrayed by love and wanting to prove himself, seventeen year old Michah enters the forbidding Wrymeweald to win a fortune and a maiden’s hand. Wrymeweald is a desolate, wild place inhabited by Wyrmes, great dragon beasts, where only the hardy survive. His adventure very nearly ends in disaster until, in a lucky break, he meets up with Eli, a tracker of the wastes. Together they attempt to defend a Wyrme egg from destruction before it falls into the hands of the Kith, little knowing that it already has a guardian in the form of Thrace, a Wyrme rider. The Wyrme, meanwhile, dismayed by the continual intrusion into their lands contemplate leaving, but where could they go...?

Wyrmeweald: Returner's Wealth is the first part of a new fantasy trilogy by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, authors of the successful Edge Chronicles. The book's environment was inspired by the arid wastelands of the American west and the rough and wild landscapes of the Scottish highlands. To further aid the reader's imagination the book is heavily illustrated with black and white plates which adorn the chapter headings and the sides of many of the pages.

Against this background Stewart and Riddell have constructed an entertainingly intelligent plot, full of realistic characters whose stories interweave one with another. The narrative is kept at a brisk pace which keeps the reader engrossed and enthralled.

The written style is coherent; you would be hard pressed to work out who wrote what. The book is strong on characterisation as well as descriptive passages detailing both the threat and beauty which Micah finds.

I have never really been a fan of fantasy books, but every so often one comes along whose elements combine to make for a pleasurable reading experience. For fans of the Edge novels I’m obviously talking to the converted, but this book has much to offer to the casual reader.


Charles Packer

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