Title: Something Red
Author: Douglas Nicholas
Review: The author spent a lot of energy developing the characters and describing the world which they inhabited. By the end of the book you really cared about these fully threshed out 3 dimensional people. Unfortunately that would have been fine in a massive multi-book epic saga, but in a relatively short 300 page book it came with a cost, and that was action. It took quite a while to even figure out what was going on, let alone to get into the story. We start with a group of travelers just going down a road in winter, meeting other travelers. That is it for the longest time.
Finally when the action does arrive it is very good, and when I figured out what exactly what was going on (as the synopsis states – they are being stalked by something terrible) I was fully into it. The writer is obviously very talented, but he created the the Lord of the Rings with the page count of the Hobbit. This book could have been cut down tremendously, or (and my vote) it should have been a 3 book, 1000 page tome to be enjoyed over time.
In the end this was a nice story, but I was disappointed at such phenomenal character development to be over so abruptly, especially after we got to see them do so little. I look forward to future efforts by this author to see if he strikes a better balance.
Publisher: Emily Bestler Books
Quick Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Why I Read It: I really respect the publisher as this style book typically isn’t in my wheelhouse.
Where I Obtained the Book: Sent to me by the publisher for review
Synopsis: From debut author Douglas Nicholas comes a haunting story of love, murder, and sorcery. During the thirteenth century in northwest England, in one of the coldest winters in living memory, a formidable yet charming Irish healer, Molly, and the troupe she leads are driving their three wagons, hoping to cross the Pennine Mountains before the heavy snows set in. Molly, her lover Jack, granddaughter Nemain, and young apprentice Hob become aware that they are being stalked by something terrible. The refuge they seek in a monastery, then an inn, and finally a Norman castle proves to be an illusion. As danger continues to rise, it becomes clear that the creature must be faced and defeated—or else they will all surely die. It is then that Hob discovers how much more there is to his adopted family than he had realized.
An intoxicating blend of fantasy and mythology, Something Red presents an enchanting world full of mysterious and fascinating characters— shapeshifters, sorceresses, warrior monks, and knights—where no one is safe from the terrible being that lurks in the darkness. In this extraordinary, fantastical world, nothing is as it seems, and the journey for survival is as magical as it is perilous.
Author Biography: Douglas Nicholas is an award-winning poet whose work has appeared in numerous publications, among them Atlanta Review, Southern Poetry Review, Sonora Review, Circumference, A Different Drummer, and Cumberland Review, as well as the South Coast Poetry Journal, where he won a prize in that publication's Fifth Annual Poetry Contest.
Other awards include Honorable Mention in the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation 2003 Prize For Poetry Awards, second place in the 2002 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards from PCCC, International Merit Award in Atlanta Review's Poetry 2002 competition, finalist in the 1996 Emily Dickinson Award in Poetry competition, honorable mention in the 1992 Scottish International Open Poetry Competition, first prize in the journal Lake Effect's Sixth Annual Poetry Contest, first prize in poetry in the 1990 Roberts Writing Awards, and finalist in the Roberts short fiction division.
He was also recipient of an award in the 1990 International Poetry Contest sponsored by the Arvon Foundation in Lancashire, England, and a Cecil B. Hackney Literary Award for poetry from Birmingham-Southern College. He lives in New York City and the Hudson Valley with his wife, Theresa, and Yorkshire terrier, Tristan.