Category : Reviews

8:17 pm , October 4, 2012 0

Traditional fantasy stories involving great quests and magical items have never really been my cup of tea, but I found plenty in Nat Howler’s debut novel to enjoy and I have no doubt that enthusiasts of the genre will eat it up.

 

Being his first novel Howler’s prose is wonderfully readable. He manages to brilliantly convey entire characters, landscapes and settings with the most minimal of descriptions, never allowing the galloping pace of the book to ever stumble into self-indulgence and ponderousness.

 

It’s clear that with its mostly clear-cut morality, action-packed story and “safe” language (there be no cussing or hanky panky here, ladies and gentlemen), Three Fugitives is designed to be devoured by younger readers and it will probably work best with them. I don’t say that dismissively, incidentally. Writing good “young adult” fiction that neither talks down to its audience nor bores them, is not something to be taken lightly and Howler does a fine job of that here.

 

Howler also takes the riskier road of making his characters more flawed than simply likeable, to the point that there will be times when you want to strangle every one of the stories protagonists. He does get the characters to ingratiate themselves to the reader as the story goes on but he makes them work for it.  Not the safest way of doing things, to be sure, but it makes the characters more fully developed and some of the conflicts slightly less predictable.

 

I. Preskovsky – Cape Town

7:21 pm , April 20, 2012 0

Dr Trevor, a respected psychologist in Johannesburg, had the following to say about Three Fugitives:

The “Three Fugitives”, being book one of the “Six Stones Trilogy” introduces us into the tragic world of Orren, a young boy fleeing from Lord Berthus, his evil half brother and ruler of Corcadine.  The story unfolds in a page turning adventure that I struggled to put down.

I particularly enjoyed the interplay between the characters of Orren, the goblin Haxel, and the heiress Marett, and the strange yet unyielding friendship that blooms on their quest to destroy Berthus’s goal of obtaining all six gwellen.  The story unfolds in a perfect mix of emotion, action, magic, and adventure, to keep one interested at all times.

I look forward to the next two books, and recommend all fantasy lovers to enter into this world of love, hate, fear, and friendship, and join Orren and his friends on his quest to find the gwellen.

9:11 pm , June 15, 2010 0
Genre: FANTASY 
Three Fugitives: Book One of the Six Stones Trilogy

by Nat HowlerFour Stars (out of Five)

A crop of fantasy writers, apparently inspired by their youthful exposure to Mary Stewart, C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, Ursula K. Le Guin, and J.R.R. Tolkien, have turned to self-publishing and small presses as an alternative to mainstream publishing, which tends not to take chances on unknown authors. While many of their works are amateurish or poorly written, some authors immediately prove themselves to be professionals and excellent storytellers. Nat Howler sets a good example with his novel, Three Fugitives, the first book in the Six Stones Trilogy. Despite a few typos, Howler delivers a fantasy and adventure tale that will leave readers eager for more.

Thirteen-year-old Orren has spent his entire life living in the pigsties of the merciless Lord Berthus Randolphus. Treated like the swine he cohabitates with, Orren discovers that he is actually the half brother to Lord Berthus. After the dead of Richard, Orren’s protector and servant to Lord Berthus, Orren learns that Lord Berthus has ordered his execution. He escapes his executioners and steals from Lord Berthus one of the fabled six Gwellen, a magical stone that controls the properties of water and can only be handled by someone from the House of Randolphus.

While trying to escape his would-be killers, Orren rescues a creature called a Zhiv, “a head shorter than Orren, and lightly built. His skin was leathery and nut brown. His legs were very long in relation to his torso and they were also thin. His equally thin  arms were even longer than his legs.” Later, he and the Zhiv named Haxel, meet up with a haughty young woman with great knowledge, named Marett. Together these three battle bandits, armies, cults, and magical creatures and become caught up in a war that could destroy their entire world.

Three Fugitives will at first appear to be similar to The Book of Three, the first volume of Alexander’s the Chronicles of Prydain. Both feature youthful male main characters who are raised in poverty and are associated with pigs; both characters are accompanied on their adventures by bizarre creatures; both novels contain the themes of good versus evil. But while Alexander’s works are chiefly for children, Howler’s novel is darker and oriented toward adults. It contains vivid realism as it deals with subjects like poverty, human sacrifice, and war.

Three Fugitives pulls readers into a fantasy realm with action, adventure, and characters that are easy to love. Even though Howler has created a world full of monsters, mayhem, heroes, and heroines, the novel is also a mirror of our own disturbing reality where the borders of good and evil are not clearly defined.

By the Clarion Review