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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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04/09/2006 Archived Entry: "Graphic Novel Review: The Wood Boy/The Burning Man"

The Wood Boy/The Burning Man
by Raymond E. Feist/Tad Williams
Dabel Brothers Productions

Review by Kathryn Ramage

Although the juxtaposition of the two titles sounds as if they are related to each other somehow (perhaps predicting the horrific demise of the wood boy after he grows up and plays with matches), these short stories in the same volume are actually unconnected fantasy tales. Each is set in a separate world originally created by the author in print format, and here retold in vividly colorful graphic artwork.

The first, The Wood Boy, is adapted from a short story by Raymond E. Feist, as a side-story to his novel, Magician. Dirk, the boy who delivers the firewood for the lord of the local castle, tells a tale of a brutal army of invaders called the Tsurani, and a night when several murders and a robbery were committed, but not by the invaders.

The Burning Man, by contrast, is the story of an old woman named Breda recalling her girlhood, when she was in love with a handsome young man named Tellarin, and her step-father kept a witch prisoner in his castle. The witch refused to reveal the secrets of something called the Black Fire... although the secret, when it is revealed, is not what anyone expected. This story is set in the same world as Tad Williams's fantasy novel series, "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn."

Both are visually striking tales but, of the two, I think that The Burning Man works better as a standalone story outside of world in which it is set. For example, in The Wood Boy, Dirk observes that the invading Tsurani have no metal in their armor or weaponry and don't seem at all familiar with basic metal tools like kitchen skillets, but the reason behind this intriguing fact is never made clear in the short story; presumably, it is in the novel the story is based on.

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