Mossbelly MacFearsome and the Dwarves of Doom
written by Alex Gardiner
cover & chapter headings by
published by Andersen
240 pages in paperback
fun & fantasy with a fine Scottish tang
Summary from publisher’s website
Roger is just an ordinary boy, in an ordinary world – or so he thinks, until a grumpy dwarf warrior, Mossbelly MacFearsome, appears out of thin air and saves him from the school bully. If that isn’t incredible enough, now Moss has decided that Roger is the perfect human companion for his daring quest to defeat the dwarves’ arch-enemy Leatherhead Barnstorm and his horrifying horde of monstrous (but very polite) gorefiends. If Roger doesn’t help Moss, the world as we know it will be destroyed by ogres and dragons and the race of humans will be annihilated. If he does help, he will be late for his tea and his mum will be going mad with worry. A Highland castle, a trainee witch who knows karate, and an ancient spell to be broken – by King Golmar’s braces, just what has Roger got himself into?
From a reader’s point of view
The title of Alex Gardiner’s tale Mossbelly MacFearsome and the Dwarves of Doom promises a funny fantasy – and he definitely delivers. The strange and amusing speech of the dwarf warrior is a joy, and the Scottish setting gives a lovely local flavour.
There’s plenty of drama in the actual story, and a proper plot with an environmental theme. Indeed, there is an abundance of slapstick humour as you’d expect from James Lancett’s colourful designs for cover and chapter headings, but Roger and Moss have a real quest to fulfil.
It’s short, punchy and fun. Highly recommended for independent readers looking for an amusing read with thrills and daft fantasy along the way. A good one to share too: ideal to read aloud if you can do the voices!
an editor and writer’s perspective
Points to note:
- Nicely evoked Scottish setting.
- Clever use of language for humour and characterisation.
- The dialect gradually increases as the reader becomes accustomed to it.
- Array of funny, distinct characters.
- Themes of courage, friendship and humans’ effect on the environment.
- Slapstick, comic-strip ridiculousness at times to lighten the quest.
- Treachery and peril – but cartoonish violence softens the impact.
- 28 short punchy chapters – including The Tale of the Twisted Toenail.
- Sense of a wider fantasy world beneath the text.
- Neatly up for a sequel.