I discovered Jonathan Rogers in the summer of 2006 and posted a review here of my delight in his first fantasy novel for children, The Bark of the Bog Owl.
Now as life sometimes goes, my copy for this blog tour didn’t arrive so I’m especially thankful that I’ve had a chance to read the first two books previously, though I don’t have them on hand. Really–if you have kids, especially boys ages 8-12 or so, pick up the Wilderking Trilogy.
Here’s how Rogers describes The Bark of the Bog Owl:
“The trilogy tells the story of Aidan Errolson, a shepherd boy who finds out that it is his destiny to be the Wilderking, the long-prophesied wild man who will come from the forests and swamps to set things right in the island kingdom of Corenwald. Along the way he falls in with the feechiefolk, a tribe of semi-civilized swamp people who fight too much, cry too easily, laugh at jokes they’ve heard a hundred times, and smell terrible. I like to call the Wilderking Trilogy a “fantasy-adventure story told in an American accent.”
Ah, that’s good but it doesn’t give a FEEL for the story itself. I think we need the opening paragraphs to do that–you knew I couldn’t resist, even though I apparently was already into copying the first paragraphs as long ago as that previous post:
His Majesty, King Darrow of Corenwald,
Protector of the People,
Defender of the Faith,
Keeper of the Island
West Bank of the River Tam
My Dearest King–
You will be glad to learn that I am still available for any quest, adventure, or dangerous mission for which you might need a champion or knight-errant. I specialize in dragon-slaying, but would be happy to fight pirates or invading barbarians if circumstances require. I would even be willing to rescue a fair maiden imprisoned by evil relatives. That would not be my first choice, since I am not of marrying age. Still, in peaceful and prosperous times like these, an adventurer takes whatever work he can find. As always, I am at your service and eagerly await your reply.
Yours very sincerely,
Aidan Errolson of Longleaf Manor
P.S. I have not yet received an answer to my last letter – or to my fourteen letters before that. Mail service being what it is on the frontier, I assume your replies were lost. I hope you don’t mind that I have taken the liberty of writing again.
Holding the stiff palmetto paper between ink-stained fingers, Aidan admired his letter one more time before rolling it and putting it back in his side pouch. The mail wagon wouldn’t be by for another couple of days, and he thought it best to keep the letter on hand, in case another postscript came to him. Besides being an avid letter-writer, Aidan Errolson was a warrior and an adventurer. He lived to ride with King Darrow’s armies. He thrilled to hear the clank of plate armor, the bright ring of a sword unsheathed. He would rather sleep on a bedroll in a battle camp than in the finest bed in the finest castle in all of Corenwald.
At least, that’s who he was on the inside.
If you want to read the rest of the first chapter, go here.
One of the most unique bits about these books is the feechiefolk. In an interview here, the Q&A goes like this:
In Bark of the Bog Owl, we are introduced to Dobro and the Feechies. How did you come up with the idea for the Feechie people—their distinct culture?
Believe it or not, there’s a person out there who inspired Dobro! I came back to my hometown for a couple of summers, while I was in the PhD program at Vanderbilt, to work for a remodeling crew. I worked with a fellow named Jake, who lived way out in the woods somewhere. Most nights he went out hunting wild boar in the riverbottom forests. He didn’t carry a gun. He had some dogs that would catch the hog, and he’d whirl in with a length of rope and tie it up. He and his buddies would carry the boar out of the woods on a pole, alive. He came to work crying one morning because an alligator had eaten his dog. I thought, “Wow, what a world this is; I’m living this suburban, academic life, but I’m working shoulder to shoulder with a guy who lives this way!”
That’s the idea of the Feechiefolks—their wild existence is buzzing in the trees around the civilizers, and the civilizers don’t quite realize it. I had thought, back when I worked with Jake, “If I ever write a book, I’d love to have Jake in it.” And there he is! Dobro is a bit exaggerated—Jake wasn’t quite that wild, but he was pretty wild. That notion of valuing physical courage that’s so important to the Feechiefolks came from Jake and his crowd. I might value physical courage, but I’m not going go out in the woods and tie up a wild boar!
So I was wandering the internet for interesting tidbits to share and came across some references that I’m sure existed when I researched the first blog post but hadn’t really observed. Sometimes we have to see things a few different places before they start to resonate. What did I notice about the reason Rogers writes about wild places and wild boys? Come back tomorrow and we’ll talk about it.
Here are the other tour members who will have their own interesting take on The Bark of the Bog Owl:
Brandon Barr, Jim Black, Justin Boyer, Grace Bridges, Amy Browning, Jackie Castle, CSFF Blog Tour, D. G. D. Davidson, Chris Deanne, Janey DeMeo , Merrie Destefano, Alien Dream, Jeff Draper , April Erwin, Linda Gilmore, Marcus Goodyear, Andrea Graham, Jill Hart, Katie Hart, Sherrie Hibbs, Christopher Hopper, Becca Johnson, Jason Joyner, Karen, Dawn King, Mike Lynch, Rachel Marks, Karen McSpadden, Melissa Meeks, Rebecca LuElla Miller, Eve Nielsen, John W. Otte, Lyn Perry , Deena Peterson , Rachelle, Cheryl Russel, Ashley Rutherford, Hanna Sandvig, Chawna Schroeder, James Somers, Steve Trower, Speculative Faith, Donna Swanson, Daniel I. Weaver, Laura Williams, Timothy Wise
And here I thought I’d found a unique angle for my tour post by copying THE EXACT SAME EXCERPT you did! LOL Well, you took yours a few lines beyond my cut off point, so I guess “exact” is a stretch. But still!
Anyway, great post. This is one book that I still feel so fond of even after a year. That’s a good sign, I think.
Love the info on Dobro-awesome stuff!