Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Endymion Spring - Matthew Skelton

Who or what is Endymion Spring ? A power for good or for evil ? A legendary book that holds the secret to a world of knowledge ? A young boy without a voice, whose five hundred year old story is about to erupt into the 21st century ?

In fact it's all of these and more (the more is that it is a book about how dangerous books can be !)

Matthew Skelton's Endymion Spring features two timelines and two points of view. The first timeline and point of view takes place in 1452, in mediaeval Mainz (the German city where Johannes Gutenberg invented the first printing press to use movable type). It tells the story of Gutenberg's young apprentice, Endymion Spring, and the sacrifices he makes to keep a precious, dangerous dragonskin book from falling into the hands of Johann Fust (possibly the legendary Faust).

The second timeline and pint of view takes place in present-day Oxford and tell the story of 12 year old Blake Winters, who is visiting Oxford with his academic mother, and his kid sister, Duck (not her real name). Whilst Juliet Somers immerses herself in her researches in Oxford's libraries (including the world famous Bodleian), Blake feels trapped in the dusty college library until one day, whilst he is running his finger along a shelf, something pierces his finger, drawing blood. The biting book responsible is a battered old volume, with a strange clasp like a serpent's head and with real fangs. Printed on its front are two words: Endymion Spring. Blake attempts to find out more about the mysterious book and he is helped and hindered by the book itself (which gives him riddles), his sister, his mother, various Oxford scholars and librarians, and a mysterious tramp (who apparently cannot speak) with a dog.

This is a gripping fantasy mystery with an interesting collection of characters, and beautifully described landscapes (the description of the Bodleian Library is fantastic - especially the description of the Stacks below Oxford's streets (which not everyone gets to see !) Warner Brothers have bought the film rights so keep your eyes open for the film, as well as the book.

4 comments:

Sheila said...

Thanks for the review. I'm looking forward to reading this one. It's not out yet in the U.S. but I got an advance copy at the BEA. It looks great!

Michele said...

It is great ! I will adding a more spoiler-ish review over at the Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone in due course, but I'll post a note here when it's there so you can go and read that once you've read the book...

bharat said...

I have read the book and found it to be fantastic. And your review was great.

Michele said...

Thanks very much ! It's a very enjoyable book that's very hard to put down...