Blue Moon Rising by Simon R. Green

Source: Public Library
Paperback, 480 pages
On Amazon and on Kobo

Blue Moon Rising by Simon R. Green is an adventure story of kings, castles, dragons, and unicorns whose hero, Rupert, is a second son in line for the throne and dedicated to his duty to the Land even at the expense of his own safety.  On his first quest he is sent to slay a dragon, but what he encounters runs contrary to everything he’s ever heard about quests from the minstrels.  Knowing that he can never rule as king, Rupert is aware that he isn’t meant to return from his quest or if he does, he’s to return with something of value that his bankrupt kingdom can use to fight off the Barons who wish to take control.  Unfortunately, he and his unicorn return with a live dragon, not jewels, and a difficult Princess Julia.

In typical adventure fashion, but with humor, Green creates a world in which the darkness threatens to overtake the Forest Kingdom.  Rupert is a reluctant hero and Princess Julia is the antithesis of feminine royals who care more about dresses and balls.  Harald, the prince next in line for the throne, is charismatic and wily, and he has a reputation with the ladies.  He and his brother are often at odds, though readers will wonder if they would get along better if their father didn’t show preference for Harald over Rupert at every turn or if the kingdom was not in such turmoil politically that factions are vying for their own favorite son to ascend to the throne.  Green populates his novel with a few too many quests when one would have sufficed before the kingdom was threatened by the Darkwood and the Demon Prince.

“For a long while the Court stood silent, shaken by the Astrologer’s dark vision.
‘There must be something we can do,’ said Rupert haltingly.
‘There is,’ said the Astrologer.  ‘Prince Rupert; you must journey to the Dark Tower, and there summon the High Warlock.’
Rupert stared at the Astrologer.
‘I should have volunteered to lead an army against the Demon Prince,’ he said finally.  ‘It would have been safer.'” (page 87)

The dragon doesn’t play much of a role here, but the unicorn seems to be the comic relief for the most part.  The debate between the privilege in royalty and being a peasant is consistent throughout the book, as is the tension between duty and desire.  Despite its wordiness, Blue Moon Rising by Simon R. Green is a keen adventure with humor and plot twists, though some may be predictable and less satisfying than expected.

Unfortunately, the book club discussion for this one was postponed do to some illnesses and other conflicts.

About the Author:

Simon was born in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, England (where he still resides), in 1955. He has obtained an M.A. in Modern English and American Literature from Leicester University and he also studied history and has a combined Humanities degree. His writing career started in 1973, when he was a student in London. His first actual sale was a story titled Manslayer, back in 1976, but it didn’t appear till much later; Awake, Awake…. was his first sale to a professional editor, in 1979. Furthermore he sold some six or seven stories to semi-pro magazines before that market disappeared practically overnight.

After years of publishers’ rejection letters, he sold an incredible seven novels in 1988, just two days after he started working at Bilbo’s bookshop in Bath (this after three and a half years of being unemployed!). This was followed in 1989 by two more, and a commission to write the bestselling novelization of the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which has sold more than 370.000 copies.

62nd book for 2014 New Author Reading Challenge.