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by Marion Athorne and Osbert Norman-Walter
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: ideas4writers (23 February 2009)
Teen/Young adult/Adult fantasy (age 14+)
A magical fantasy for ages 14+. When writer and journalist August Autrey disappears while covering the story of the Forest of Weir and its mysterious wizard and dragon, the villagers believe he has paid the price for being too curious. Two weeks later he returns and furiously types a long manuscript in which he describes the amazing adventures he had in an elfin world hidden within the forest. But why is he in such a hurry to get the manuscript finished?
Back cover text
Writer and journalist August Autrey arrives in the village of Three Weirs to cover the story of the Forest of Weir, which the villagers have long believed to be the home of a wizard and a dangerous dragon. When he disappears leaving only his empty clothes draped over the seat of a chair, many believe he has paid the price for being too curious.
His landlady’s niece, Ann Singlewood, dreams that she meets the missing journalist living in the forest as a nine-inch-high elfin wizard. Two weeks later, however, August returns and spends three days
furiously typing a long manuscript, which he addresses to Ann.
The next morning he is found dead.
As Ann reads the manuscript she realises that the magical world she dreamed of is actually real – and that August is in love with her!
But if she is to join him there, it would mean giving up everything …
Cedric Parcel, Editor of SAGE magazine, U3A, Sutton Coldfield, UK
"Marion's story, which is set in the legendary Forest of Weir is an account of the strange folk who inhabit the village of Three Weirs, fairies, wizards and a dangerous dragon. But this is by no means a fantasy for children - there are unexplained deaths, people who disappear leaving behind empty clothes from which the wearer has vanished, and an investigative journalist who turns into a nine-inch-high elfin wizard. Marion has produced a very readable novel."
Michael Potter (no relation to Harry)
"I have just read Wizard's Woe and it was truly a wonderful read. It had everything a PROPER WIZARD STORY should have: Fairies, Little people, Dragons, Witchetts, Wands, Magic Lord of The Weirs, Hellbane Harry, a good story line, and lots more interesting humans too (Miss Singlewood). Anyone from 12+ SHOULD READ THIS. MOVE OVER HARRY POTTER."
Geoff Anderson, Worcester, UK
"Wizard's Woe is an exquisitely told tale of romantic love which spans two worlds as surely as the crystal bridge (pictured on the cover) which allows the fae to cross to the Wandle to witness the wedding of the wands.
According to Wizard's Woe, the rules and traditions that govern life in fairy land have seeped into local human consciousness as legends and 'fairy stories' told to children. But one such storyteller discovers that the world of the little people is as real as his own human world, and that it is possible to cross between the two. But there's a catch. At some point he has to choose. Our hero's dilemma is that he can't communicate with the woman he loves to find out if she is going to make the same choice.
The story raises deeply spiritual and ecological questions. Spiritually, the world of the fairies and gnomes can be interpreted in this book as a kind of heaven, an Arcadian Paradise. This paradise is not a vaguely drawn heaven where anything goes because the inhabitants are immortal - which they are - but rather one that is governed by strict rules, the breaking of which can result in a 'second death'. So the story prompts readers to consider death and the possibility of an afterlife, without having to steep themselves in any of the world's ancient religions.
One of the problems we have in envisaging what heaven might be like is to imagine what the inhabitants do with all the time on their hands. Revelation's suggestion that we might be kneeling before God's throne
singing hymns of praise for ever doesn't appeal to many people, nor does the popular myth of being a harp-playing angel. The authors of Wizard's Woe have an intriguing answer to this quandary which, again, may not appeal to all readers, though it gets full marks for sheer audacity!
Ecologically, the reader is prompted to consider the risk we take when we destroy our natural environment for commercial gain, since we may unwittingly be destroying the habitats of creatures we know nothing about - indeed, it is certain that we are doing exactly that when we destroy the
rainforests, for example, which harbour countless undiscovered species, and disrupt the harmony of the planet. Wizard's Woe is a parable of this risk and therefore speaks to a current burning issue.
In the first quarter of the 20th century there was an explosion of interest in fairies, partly due to photographs that decades later were revealed to be fakes, and Wizard's Woe has an almost period feel to it that is part of its charm. For example, the heroine calls her aunt 'Auntie', and actually blushes when caught ogling a photograph of a handsome man; the fact that she falls in love with this man merely on the strength of the photograph jars when it happens in the normal, human world depicted in the early chapters, but gradually makes sense as the story becomes a fairy story, for in such a context love is always instantaneous and overwhelming."
About the authors
Osbert Norman-Walter, writer, playwright, journalist, and Astrological Consultant 'Seginus' of the News of the World (1937—39) conceived Wizard's Woe, in his twenties around 80 years ago but could find no publisher. On his death in 1974, his daughter Marion Athorne inherited an unfinished trilogy.
Married with three children, ten grandchildren and one great grandchild, Marion has only recently had the necessary time to commit to working on a manuscript that comprised more than a million words. She enrolled with the Writers Bureau early in 2004, and studied the new writing techniques. The result? The publication of two articles and a win in a short story competition, which helped with giving her confidence to author the revised, edited, and abridged version of a now complete trilogy that is 'Merlyn's Legacy'. She sincerely hopes that Book One, 'Wizard's Woe' will achieve the wider readership that her father's inspiration deserved.
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The Wizard's Woe website
For more information about the story, the characters, the authors, book signings, talks, etc: www.wizardswoe.com[Return to i4w2 home page]