Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Book Tour--On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness--Day 2

Not too many folks I know have their own page on Wikipedia. Andrew Peterson does.

Besides being the author of the featured science fiction or fantasy book for this month's tour, Andrew Peterson is a career musician living in Nashville, being both a singer and a songwriter. One of his claims to fame is that of singing several of the songs on one of the Veggie Tales videos, The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's. Knowing that Andrew is...shall we say sympathetic?...to Veggie Tales helps me understand his middle grade novel better!

Okay, so let's talk about novel openings. By now, if you've been with me for long, you know I'm not keen on prologues. What do you do when the prologue isn't one, but three? At least I knew what these prologues were about. The first was entitled A Brief Introduction to the World of Aerwiar (one page). This was followed by A Slightly Less Brief Introduction to the Land of Skree (a page and a half). And finally, An Introduction to the Igiby Cottage (Very Brief) (one page, with sketch). You wouldn't actually need any of the information found in these introductions, but they were mildly amusing.

The first chapter is entitled The Carriage Comes, the Carriage Black:
Janner Igiby lay trembling on his bed with his eyes shut tight, listening to the dreadful sound of the Black Carriage rattling along in the moonlight. His younger brother Tink was snoring in the bunk above him, and he could tell from his little sister Leeli's breathing that she was asleep too. Janner dared to open his eyes and saw the moon, as white as a skull, grinning down on him through the window. As hard as he tried not to think about it, the nursery rhyme that had terrified children in the land of Skree for years sang in his head, and he lay there in the pale moonlight, his lips barely moving.

Lo, beyond the River Blapp
The carriage comes, the Carriage Black
By shadowed steed with shadowed tack
And shadowed driver driving.

Child, pray the Maker let you sleep
When comes the Carriage down the street
Lest all your dreams be dreams of teeth
And Carriages arriving.

To wrest you from your berth and bower
In deepest night and darkest hour
Across the sea to frozen tower
Where Gnag the Nameless pounds you

At Castle Throg across the span,
A world away from kith and clan
You'll weep at how your woes began
The night the shadows bound you

Away, beyond the River Blapp,
The Carriage came, the Carriage Black
By shadowed steed with shadowed tack
The night the Carriage found you

It's no wonder that Janner had a hard time sleeping once he heard the faint thud of hooves and the jangle of chains. (etc)

As you can see, this is a tale made for reading aloud. I don't have anyone to read aloud to these days, but I can feel the rhythm in the nursery rhyme even so. But don't read it to too young a child, or one prone to nightmares!

I'm curious: what do you think of this opening? Is it something that makes you want to read more? If it does, the Amazon link for ordering On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is here.

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