Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Plougman's Son by Kurt R. A. Giambastiani (review)

Title: Plougman's Son
Author: Kurt R. A. Giambastiani
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 248
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: F Gia
ISBN: 1-4116-3779-8
Cost: $16.99

I have been reading Giambastiani’s work for some time now. When I first stumbled across The Year The Cloud Fell a few years back, I was drawn into a bizarre world of Native Indians and dinosaurs with a heavy helping of American history. Giambastiani has once again created one of those bizarre worlds.

The Ploughman’s Son was about just that, a ploughman’s son. Set in 880 AD, Alain is working the fields with his father. Or so he thinks. Turns out his biological father is not only a Lord, but also raped his mother. But don’t worry, his mother is just as bad. Not only did she go crazy, she also abused him physically and emotionally. In the end, Alain gets revenge and kills his father.

I am not sure how much research went into the novel, but there are times when many things seem historically correct. Not being an expert in the field though, I wouldn’t know. But the settings (landscape and weather), actions of the characters (daily tasks and language), and religious beliefs (Paganism vs. Christianity) all seemed very plausible to me. Granted, the magic of the ley lines and of the old spirits wasn’t, the vast majority was. Thus setting a believable stage for the story.

Being just shy of 250 pages, the story is fairly fast. It slows in a few spots, but mostly to convey the importance of that particular scene. The trail Alain travels is a bit convoluted at times, making stops that don’t always fit in with the overall story. There are some battle scenes that are too short or not crisp enough with detail. And, my biggest gripe, there’s no map. But I’m big on maps. I need to see where everything happens.

So overall, Kurt did a good job on a good story. While the crows/ravens of the story creeped me out a bit, I think that was the intention. My impression (this is where my opinion takes over) is that Kurt got an idea for a story and either filled in the blanks or cut some out. I could easily see this as a short story or as a longer novel. I’m just not sure which would be better. For those interested, the second part of this duology, Ploughman King, will be reviewed next.

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