I know that some people are of the opinion that both the world and books are flat. I tend to disagree, I believe that the world is round, and books often have more dimensions to them than mere words on a page of paper.

The Fruit Of The Dendragon Tree is a fine example. Although Paul Deepan is new to the literary world, he brings a wealth of worldly knowledge.

I am a person that likes to consume a book. From cover to cover, outside of the text there are always more clues to be found. The one that caught my eye was actually at the end of the book:

Thanks to Mrs ‘Beetle’ Ross for reading The Narnia Chronicles and The Hobbit to a bunch of kids in a sun drenched classroom…

The mention of C. S. Lewis made me reflect on what I had just read. Dendragon might be viewed as more graphic than Narnia except for one very important factor, many years have passed since Narnia was born, tastes and styles have changed. What we find in Dendragon is a very grown up version of C. S. Lewis. There are no punches pulled, this is fantasy at it’s very finest, it operates on two very different levels, adults will enjoy it for the intricate interplay between the characters and the plot, the YA readers will love it merely for the story line and the wonderful development of the very diverse and mythical players.

The story has at its core a seventeen your old boy, Jake Patel. He is a very average young man, in a very average middle class family, with one difference. His mother is bedridden and in the final throws of losing her battle with cancer. The cancer is not only eroding the life blood from his mother, but has in someways rooted itself inside Jake in the form of an increasing frustration with his father. A frustration born from a fallacy that not only did his father not care that he was about to lose his wife, he had indeed strayed from the marriage bed.

For Jake there is no greater calling than to save the life of his mother. No cost is too great, no blood too sacred to spill.

When a young lady, a fellow schoolmate, Jenny Blackwood offers assistance Jake is leery. Jenny is at best an outcast, Jenny is rumored to even be a witch. But what harm could come from a simple trip to the nearby woods?

Jake finds himself in a very different world, Tiramonde, he also finds himself in the center of a two thousand year old legend. A legend that potentially can change Tiramonde for eternity.

The legend is a double edged sword, one view has it as the ending of Tiramonde, the other as the resurrection.

It is not even certain that Jake Patel is the Pendraig, the mythical freer of the dragon that lurks below the Marfang.

Meanwhile our well meaning but inexperienced Jenny Blackwell has once again opened the portal to Tiramonde, the guest this time is Jake’s father. Is it possible that he is the Pendraig?

Paul Deepan has created a fantasy world in The Fruit Of The Dendragon Tree, yet, yet he does it in such a way that there are many parallels with our world today.

The ending of Dendragon is truly unique, and I will not spoil it. Jake must face a choice, only he can make it. Death is on the menu, but who must die?

I put Dendragon down after finishing it, and I sat for several minutes lost in thought. Would I have made the same decision that Jake did? I don’t know.

This is a great book, and one that deserves being read. In the ‘afterword’ Paul Deepan says something that gave me pause for thought. ‘Art can mirror life’. Paul had spent many years on Dendragon, rewriting, reworking, or as I like to say ‘fiddling’ with the manuscript.

I real life, just after Dendragon had been finalized, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. The good news is that her prognosis is great, it was caught in time to arrest its development.

Paul is also donating a portion of his sales revenue to breast cancer related organizations.

You can order your copy of The Fruit Of The Dendragon Tree from Amazon by using the link above, and I also recommend that you check out his web site.

Simon Barrett

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