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Faerie Wars
Herbie Brennan
Bloomsbury, 368 pages

Faerie Wars
Herbie Brennan
Herbie Brennan had published his first novel by his mid-20s, an historical romance from Doubleday. At 30, he made the decision to devote his time to full-length works of fact and fiction and since then has published more than sixty books, many of them international best-sellers. Today he is a full-time author with an interest in transpersonal psychology, spirituality, comparative religion, reincarnation, esotericism, quantum physics and psychical research. He has broadcast and lectured widely throughout UK and Ireland. Herbie Brennan lives with his wife, the crystal therapist and author Jacquie Burgess, in an old rectory in Ireland.

Herbie Brennan Website
ISFDB Bibliography
Faerie Wars Website

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Nathan Brazil

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'The man smiled slyly. "That's the secret ingredient, ain't it? That's what puts the miracle into Miracle Glue."

Frowning, Pyrgus said, "What's the secret ingredient?"

The man's smile broadened. "Kittens!" He told Pyrgus expansively.

Faerie Wars is written with such fluency and style that several chapters go by before you remember you were only going to read a couple. The strong temptation is always to read just a little bit more. Herbie Brennan is a master of the cliff-hanger ending, and uses it to full effect throughout. In traditional style for a novel in this genre, the story begins and ends in suburban England, with various excursions to and from the Realm of Faerie. The main players among the human characters are a boy called Henry Atherton, and an old man named Alan Fogarty, whom he occasionally helps out around the house. Fogarty is a curmudgeonly fellow, whose hobby is conspiracy theory. One such theory is proven, when a faerie, Crown Prince Pyrgus Malvae, arrives in his garden. Pyrgus has been transported there by accident, due to sabotage back in the Realm. An unfortunate effect of this has been to make him butterfly sized, including full functional wings. This, however, is merely the start of his troubles. Civil war is about to break out in the Realm of Faerie, and the Purple Emperor, father to Prince Pyrgus, had intended to send his son to the relative safety of what faeries know as the Analogue World. Here, the first of their kind to make the crossing, were the basis for our legends. Similarly, demons from the realm regularly emerge into our reality, disguised as grey-skinned, almond-eyed aliens. They have apparently kidnapped six million Americans.
Fogarty bent over, frowning, to look through the speckled glass. "Some sort of kids toy?" The fairy moved. "Good God!" Fogarty exclaimed and jumped. Then he grinned. "That's good, That really got me going for a minute. What is it -- radio control?"

"It's a fairy," Henry said.

Meanwhile, Lord Black Hairstreak, leader of the Faeries of the Night, is conspiring with Beleth the Prince of Hael, to bring down House Iris, the ruling family of the Faeries of the Light. Also in the mix are Princess Holly Blue, the minx-like sister of Pyrgus, and Aisling, Henry's slightly malevolent younger sister. In the Realm, we meet some delightful characters, including Kitterick, a toxic orange dwarf, and Jasper Chalkhill. A triumph in characterisation, Chalkhill is co-owner of a glue factory, and is in equal parts tragic, clown, and theatrically evil. Chalkhill's home is a mansion in the style of Librace meets Barbara Cartland.

The plot flits butterfly like between the Analogue World and the Realm of Faerie, sometimes thought provoking and serious, at other times a funny, fast paced adventure. Faerie Wars is one of those rare books that works for readers of any age. It's a fairly light plot, with nothing like the profundity or ingeniousness of its stable-mate, Harry Potter. But that should not be seen as a criticism. What it lacks in depth, it makes up for with irreverent fun. We learn, for example, of the gastronomic ignominy which may have befallen those unfortunates apparently abducted by aliens. A fate which begs the memorable question, 'Do Americans taste as good as potato crisps?'

Copyright © 2004 Nathan Brazil

Nathan Brazil
If Nathan Brazil were dyslexic, he'd be the dog of the Well world. In reality, he's an English bloke who lives on an island, reading, writing and throwing chips to the seagulls. Drop by his web site at www.inkdigital.org.


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