Tuesday 14 August 2012

#OBSummer #Books - Ford 99 - Pike's Quest

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Genre - Fantasy / Comedy 
Rating - G
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OK, here’s the thing. Until a few weeks ago, I didn’t have a page 99. I had Location 1722 on a Kindle, alternatively, it was 56%. Not romantic, eh? But now that I have Pike’s Quest in a shiny paperback format, my page 99 really exists.

Here’s another thing: Pike’s Quest was written to be intentionally humorous. This can prove dangerous, as some people don’t see the joke nor, for that matter, the serious underlying themes.

As you can see, my page 99 is a little over half-way through the book. In the story, Pike is on a quest (odd that, given the title) and he knows very little about what he is supposed to achieve. The fact that this world is not in the medieval era has been established to some degree, but Pike thinks he’s simply on an age-old chivalrous quest to win the heart of a fair maiden and to rescue Moorlock the Warlock. At this point, he is clueless as to what winning the heart of the fair maiden entails, and who or what the fair maiden actually is.

Page 99 is at a point where Pike and his surviving cohorts have to cross the Stinking Peat Bogs of Lanklandishire. They arrive at a toll booth where the toll collector is amazed to see Pike leading a horse with a saddle upon its back– after all, horses are sacred beasts, and no man shall ride one. The toll collector puts two and two together and asks Pike about his credentials – is he The One? The collector quotes prophecies, which foretell of the coming of The One. This is played for laughs, but the twist is that Pike keeps hearing that “it has been written  ... etc” and now he demands to know exactly where it has been written. Calling his bluff, the toll collector shows him.

What was I trying to achieve in this passage? Well, firstly, to get Pike into possession of a copy of the Great Book; secondly, to enlighten him as to his origins (the book contains his genealogy) and provide him with an item that will protect and guide him, and finally, to provide a few laughs. The latter may not work if the page is viewed in total isolation without the benefit of the book blurb and maybe a few sentences from page 98, but it will be clear to most that we are in the midst of intrigue, so hopefully, readers of the fantasy genre will turn the page.

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