|Genre:||Science Fiction & Fantasy|
The story centers on a post apocalyptic kingdom called Morainia--which in geography matches the Pacific Northwest state of Washington where Nobacon currently resides, only this is centuries in the future. The heroine is a thirteen year-old girl, Princes Stormy. She finds herself with an absentee father-King Walterbald and a step-mother, Queen Gwynmerelda. As soon as her dad takes off on a secret mission, the nasty step-mom tries to marry Stormy off to a "toadying prancer" Prince Mercurio from the "Southern Kingdoms".
The story centers around Stormy coming into womanhood, avoiding the clutches of various lustful, dense and power-hungry princes (there is a hint in the title as to what becomes of them all) and, along with her intrepid fellow traveller, The Fool, finding her King-father, Walterbald, and rescuing him in the lands beyond the Great Ice Wall. Then comes the climatic Battle of Bald River Falls, a finish as memorable as C.S. Lewis classic and more conventional "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe".
Along the way, she has encounters with invading armies--those darn Southern Kingdoms--giant cats, mermangels, giggle monkeys, a large black bird called the Gricklegrack that makes himself very useful in a pinch and the usual compliment of flying lizards no good work of serious literature should ever be without.
Nobacon surely has a way with words and the book comes with an interesting afterword about the need for "mutual aid" and its role in humanity's long evolution. Alex Cox, a film director of such films as "Sid and Nancy" (1983), "Repo Man" (1984) did the illustrations and they are wonderfully imaginative in the vein of books like Maurice Stendack's "Where the Wild Things Are" .
I have to thank Multiply's own Merlin of the Shire, Aaran Aardvark, for introducing me to more of Chumbawamba's music than I had been given a chance to appreciate before.
This is in fact a good book for anybody thirteen or over and can be enjoyed on several levels.
Critical bias warning: I got a chance to chat a bit with both Mr. Cox and Mr. Nobacon separately at this year Ashland Book and Author Festival last month. Both men were amiable to all who came by and said hello, and asked about their work. Mr. Nobacon, despite having once dumped an ice bucket on a deputy Prime Minister at the British Music Awards show in 1998, showed no signs of any aggressive behavior or intent to those who just stopped by without buying his book or his most recent CD releases. He was quite friendly to the freeloaders among us, which is more than would have been said of a ready ice-bucket flinger like myself.
Here he is at a signing appearence a couple years back.