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BookReview: The DarkLord of Derkholm by Diana Wynn Jones

Have you ever read a fantasy novel and wanted to live in that world? Many people have going so far as to learn a language, make costumes and role play within the stories. But what most people want to do is live the life of the main character or part of their crowd. The odds are if you are put into that world you will not be the hero. You would be one of the ordinary people of that world. It still might be fun, or will it?

In The Darklord of Derkholm people from our reality travel to another planet to Larp (live action role play) as adventurers defeating the big evil. The adventure parties go on the adventure and then go home, but the people of this world are tired of this. 50 years ago they had signed a contract with an off-worlder, Mr Chesney, who had trapped them with these tours. Forced to host multiple campaigns has caused their cities to be destroyed, people maimed & killed and crops to fail. Their planet is being destroyed and there is no clear way out of the contract.

Every season a new “Dark Lord” is chosen and this time it is the mild mannered Derk, a wizard who specializes in genetics and creates new animals. His wife is now the Glamorous Enchantress and has to work on the other side of him. Derk is thought to be a bumbling fool due to his inability to do magic correctly, but he has come up with ways to save the herd animals (flying pigs and horses) from the adventurers, along with creating some griffin children.

Told from many different perspectives, this book is an amazing tale. It takes a look at the darkness of the human condition (off-worlders doing whatever they want because it “isn’t real.”) and the brightness (how the inhabitants of this world band together to save themselves). It is a very well written story that can be enjoyed by adults and teens alike.

It is worth mentioning that Jones and The Dark Lord of Derkholm won the 1999 Mythopoetic Fantasy Award in the children’s section.

So if you are a fantasy fan, or would just like the chance to see things from another point of view, this is the book for you.

Happy Reading.

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