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The Book of Words
J.V. Jones
Warner Aspect Books
Volume 1 The Baker's Boy
Volume 2 A Man Betrayed
Volume 3 Master and Fool

Book 1

Book 2

Book 3

J.V. Jones
J.V. Jones was born in Liverpool, England, in 1963. She currently resides in San Diego, California where she is hard at work on her fifth novel.

Sample Chapter from The Baker's Boy
Sample Chapter from A Man Betrayed
Sample Chapter from Master and Fool
SF Site Review: The Barbed Coil

Past Feature Reviews
A series review by Wayne MacLaurin

A while back I was introduced to works of J.V. Jones when a friend dropped off an advance proof of The Barbed Coil. I enjoyed the novel's rich background and compelling characterization enough that I started to hunt around for copies of her first series, The Book of Words. When I finally found all three volumes in their nice thick trade paperback editions, I settled down in a comfy chair and started reading.

Boy, was I surprised and delighted.

The Baker's Boy does not read like a first novel. It, and its two siblings, are well polished and glow with an excellence that is very rarely found in first novels. J.V. Jones's web site includes a Writer's Digest article which outlines what she went through in getting The Baker's Boy published. That work really paid off.

The Book of Words is filled with all sorts of delightful nuances that capture the attention of the reader and makes the series so much more than standard fantasy fare. My personal favourites include a pair of guards who spend their time discussing various approaches to winning their way with the ladies -- it is obvious that they don't succeed often, but the dialogue is priceless -- and a villainous archbishop who appears every time sampling some rare delicacy only to be interrupted by one of his assistants.

However, these extras are merely added bonuses to an already wonderful series.

The series tells the story of an malevolent sorcerer and his plot to found an empire. Opposing him are the unlikely combination of an apprentice baker who has begun to show the signs of having powerful, but uncontrolled, magical abilities; the headstrong daughter of an influential lord, and an idealistic young knight who has begun a quest that will reveal to him that nothing is quite as his teachings have taught him.

From this simple beginning, the story blossoms into three thick volumes of suspense and intrigue. The story branches, joins, branches and joins, over and over as the plot develops. J.V. Jones keeps four or five plot lines running for nearly the entire work and manages to keep the story flowing consistently and never confuses the reader doing so. The characters are solid and well developed throughout. The three main characters each have their own struggles to overcome and have major turning points that help to crystallize the story. As an added delight, J.V. Jones's minor characters are as well developed as the main ones. As a reader, I frequently made the mistake of discounting a character only to find him back in the thick of the story a volume later. It's a marvelous feeling.

Its not often that I find books that I feel simply shouldn't end. A Book of Words is such a beast. The characters are so compelling and the story line so strong that it was almost disappointing to finally reach the end. The search for the three volumes was certainly worth the effort. If you are looking for a new favourite author or you've have just finished The Barbed Coil and were considering reading J.V. Jones's earlier works, grab this trilogy. You won't be disappointed.

Copyright © 1997 by Wayne MacLaurin

Wayne MacLaurin is a regular SF Site reviewer. More of his opinions are available on our Book Reviews pages.

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