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First Published on Jan 18 2014
Book 1 of the Realm of Dica series.
An epic mystery set within the exquisitely realised ‘created-world’ realm of Dica. At its heart is a story spanning the millennia – from ancient myth and legend to the realm’s turbulent present – all seen through the intimate vision of its idiosyncratic characters. These are folk who’ll become as real to you as friends or family, and whose revealing and somehow contemporary story will stay with you for ever more.
This is the kind of fantasy you might have expected to have come from the pen of Mervyn Peake, peopled with fully fleshed out characters reminiscent of those so joyously created by Terry Pratchett. The story at times, though, may seem to owe more to CS Lewis as it weaves its way through a rich, deep and multi-threaded tapestry of a plot that would have pleased the science fiction master Olaf Stapledon. And of course, there’s one character who mustn’t be overlooked, and that’s Dica itself – so real, immediate and all-embracing that you could be forgiven for thinking it had sprung from JRR Tolkien’s own hand.
Don’t be misled, though, for this series is entirely Clive S. Johnson – the author, the poet, the artist. Unique, inventive, idiosyncratic and thought provoking, this series will push you away from the shores of the everyday and into a delightful voyage of discovery. You will find wonder, surprise, dry humour and some gritty truths as you’re inexorably drawn into the pure joy of such a rich, poetic and deep tale, so well and beautifully told.
At the end of a long, slow decline, the huge castle realm of Dica seems to be drawing close to its final days, but few of its remaining inhabitants are aware of this. Even when stirred into some ineffectual action by the arrival of an unexpected army - amassed before its gates - the true meaning of what’s really happening only comes slowly, and only to a small group of oddly assorted characters. Follow their journey as they travel the realm’s vast and convoluted ways, as they eventually unearth a complex and strange past, and much about themselves.
This is the first book of the Dica Series, a leisurely introduction to much of the weird and wonderful that marks this out as a unique 'created-world' story. This is, however, a world wrought with mystery, a world of the unexpected, a world of vast vistas and intimate observations. It’s also a compelling tale, one that builds to a most unexpected and thought-provoking conclusion. At times lyrical, the rich prose will steadily draw you into a totally fresh yet seemingly familiar place and time, one that will stay with you forever.
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