|Submitted by Graciela Sholander |
(Oct 14, 2009)
Forever Avalon by Mark Piggott (Paperback, 256 pages, ISBN: 978-1596637085)
If youíre in the mood for an adventure that thrusts a modern-day family smack in the middle of peril in an enchanted land ruled by ancient legend, Forever Avalon might be what youíre looking for. Author Mark Piggott has spun a creative fairytale for grownups complete with drama, comedy, and twists along the way. When Stephanie, a still grieving wife, and her three children return to the spot where their beloved husband and father was lost at sea, they become shipwrecked. They wake up on an island that seems ordinary enough initially. But it doesnít take long for the family to realize that the rules here are very different from the rules back home.
The action begins immediately, with the family dodging dangerous beasts. The foursome is saved by a mysterious stranger, the Gil-Gamesh, whom they soon realize is no stranger after all. Under his protective care, the family members set off on a voyage they could scarcely have imagined, with one exception: Stephanie has accessed this land in her dreams.
Piggott takes his readers on a fast-paced journey in a place forgotten by time, a magical realm that the legendary Merlin himself created long ago. Here legend and myth are very real, bringing the family and the Gil-Gamesh face to face with elves, dragons, goblins, and other mystical creatures. Before long Stephanie learns that itís no accident she and the children end up there. But why, exactly, were they summoned? Who is after them? And why do they need to watch their every step?
The author creates a world that exists in another dimension where flying ships and tamed dragons are the norm. Here, modern technology is replaced by magic spells, noble knights protect the inhabitants, and Stephanie discovers she is ďLady MoonDrake.Ē Ever protected by the Gil-Gamesh and his loyal people, including Sarafina, his Shield Maiden, the family narrowly escapes danger again and again while adjusting to this strange place. Each step of the way, secrets are revealed until the family fully understands whatís at stake.
Itís clear Piggot had fun creating a fantasy world in his Forever Avalon. A lighter tone comes through in many scenes, particularly in those instances when the family is safe for the moment and tries to adapt to the norms and quirks of this unusual place. In other scenes, fear is palpable when unimaginable menace threatens the family membersí lives. The secrets of the Gil-Gamesh are disclosed, one by one, with each passing chapter, shedding light on his past and his vital role in this kingdom. Every chapter introduces another adventure along with new revelations.
Stephanieís dreams, while troubling, hold keys to unlock information the Gil-Gamesh needs to successfully complete his mission. The game deepens as the story progresses, with the shipwrecked family becoming more immersed in the drama. The narrative builds to a crescendo and concludes with a satisfying ending.
The authorís style is heavy on dialogue, and each chapter is action-packed. Piggot enjoys using pop culture references, but not to the point of excess. These references serve as reminders of where the family comes from, creating a distinct contrast between the unusual world they find themselves in and the world they left behind.
Forever Avalon is an easy read and an enjoyable romp. Itís a fun diversion from the real world for adults and teens. Mark Piggott has tapped into his fertile imagination to weave a magical tale of suspense and intrigue, love and adventure, courage and chivalry. An entertaining escape.