L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

31 August 2009 Blog Home : August 2009 : Permalink

Save The Dragons

One of my favorite authors is Dave Freer. He writes all kinds of stuff - both Fantasy and Science Fiction - and mostly in a somewhat humourous vein. I've recommended him a few times on my blog and reviewed his latest book - Slowtrain to Arcturus - last year. I also intend to review the one out next month in a week or two. Its a great book too.

Dave currently lives in South Africa, as has his family for generations, but the political/economic situation there has worsened to the extent that on Friday, his fiftieth birthday, he sold his house. The plan (and he's got all the visas etc.) is to embark on a transoceanic trek from South Africa to Finders Island, Australia and  live there from now on. Upping sticks and moving lock stock and barrel like this is, of course, not cheap and things like exchange rate fluctuations mean that he's got a minor problemette: what to do with the family cats and dogs.  

However, as he explains at his new website (http://savethedragons.nu/ ), for him and his wife this isn't such a minor detail:

Only, if you’re us, that’s a huge Godzilla-size problem. They’re not a responsibility we take lightly or just abandon.

You see if we're to take them with us - which we really want to do - they have to stay in quarantine and that's expen$ive, we'd kind of budgeted for it but what budgeted isn't enough given how the exchange rates have moved. Hence this site to try and make up the shortfall

The Storyteller's Bowl

The idea is simple and borrowed from Schezerade and her companions of ages past: I tell you all a story and at critical moments I pass the hat around. When you've given me enough money I continue.

In fact I'm modifying this slightly - the idea is to put up a chapter a week of my latest book "Save the Dragons" assuming that I've received enough donations (the thermometers at the left tells you where we are). The book has 25 chapters plus an epilog. You get the first one free and then I collect $400 (US) per chapter (and per week).

If and when the book is published anyone who contributes more (in total) than $25 will get a personalized signed copy in Hardback posted to them (or if it doesn’t ever come out in hardback - all but my first book have done - in the next most expensive format). And no matter what all the money raised goes to keeping the Freer furry animals together with their servants  - that would be us - as we head off in search of a new life.

The book itself is great. As I'm the webmaster I was forced to read it and make sure it was OK. I'm pleased to say it is much more than OK and there are a few spots which caused me to laugh out loud for an extened period of time.

Dave's blurb for the book is:

The book is one that both myself and my friend and co-author Eric Flint love. It was to be serialized in Jim Baen’s Universe, but sadly the magazine is closing down. Therefore, I have a book to sell. Um. It does break lots of rules. It’s not very PC and as I was told by a leading agent that I couldn’t sell books that have a black hero -- if that’s an opinion you share, don’t read it. On the other hand it’s a pretty equal opportunity barbeque of everyone’s sacred cows rather like Rats Bats and Vats or Pyramid Scheme. Yes, it is satire, but it’s a galumphing adventure story too -- about an unfortunate alchemy student, a wicked plot for domination of the spheres of existence, and of course the extermination of dragons. It has a cast of low IQ heroes and a few that are too bright for their own good, a broad selection of villains, a villainous selections of broads (in every sense of the word) and a transplanted hand with a mind of its own, haunted by a prognosticating foul-mouthed fowl. There’s an claustrophobic dwarf and a cast of millions... well at least tens, of vampires, werewolves and bartenders - off to save the dragons, the universe and of course, their true loves.

All of this is basically accurate but I'd go further. Dave, shy retiring bloke that he is, would be embarrassed to say it but his satirical books remind me quite strongly of the great Pterry at his midseason best. He also reminds me of that other British comic writer Tom Holt. Indeed anyone who enjoyed the first few Tom Holts (such as Expecting Someone Taller) will feel right at home in a Dave Freer universe and very much at home in this book. Mind you Dave is by no means derivative, he has a uniquely twisted view of things, but I suspect the sorts of people who enjoy Messrs Pratchett and Holt will also enjoy this book.

Anyway please go and take a look. Read chapter 1, look at the cute animals and drop a few $$$ in the paypal account.