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.

Mailbox Monday #280

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1. Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis for review in September.

Just like any other morning, Skylar Rousseau is late for school, but when she is greeted by a blanket of silent stares upon entering Blackfin High, she discovers that the whole town thought she fell from the pier and drowned on her sixteenth birthday three months earlier. However, Sky remembers the last three months living her life as normal, and since she is a full, living breathing human being, she has no idea whose body is buried underneath her tombstone. Everyone seems reluctant to help except her steadfast friend and crush, Sean . . . and a secretive man who draws her to a mysterious circus in the woods.

2.  Inamorata by Megan Chance for TLC Book Tours in August.

American artist Joseph Hannigan and his alluring sister, Sophie, have arrived in enchanting nineteenth-century Venice with a single-minded goal. The twins, who have fled scandal in New York, are determined to break into Venice’s expatriate set and find a wealthy patron to support Joseph’s work.

But the enigmatic Hannigans are not the only ones with a secret agenda. Joseph’s talent soon attracts the attention of the magnificent Odilé Leon, a celebrated courtesan and muse who has inspired many artists to greatness. But her inspiration comes with a devastatingly steep price.

3.  This Is How I’d Love You by Hazel Woods from the publisher for review in September.

As the Great War rages, an independent young woman struggles to sustain love—and life—through the power of words.

It’s 1917 and America is on the brink of World War I. After Hensley Dench’s father is forced to resign from the New York Times for his anti-war writings, she finds herself expelled from the life she loves and the future she thought she would have. Instead, Hensley is transplanted to New Mexico, where her father has taken a job overseeing a gold mine. Driven by loneliness, Hensley hijacks her father’s correspondence with Charles Reid, a young American medic with whom her father plays chess via post. Hensley secretly begins her own exchange with Charles, but looming tragedy threatens them both, and—when everything turns against them—will their words be enough to beat the odds?

4.  Tall, Dark, & Dead by Tate Hallaway, which I got from a book swap with friends.

A delightful new comedy about witches, vampires, and the search for the perfect man. Recovering witch Garnet Lacey manages Wisconsin’s premier occult bookstore. And a fringe benefit of the job is getting customers like Sebastian Von Traum–piercing brown eyes, a sexy accent, and a killer body. The only thing missing is an aura. Which means he’s dead. And that means trouble. So what’s a girl to do if she’s hot for a dead man walking? Run like hell-and take full advantage of the nights.

5.  Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition by Rev. Robert Sirico and Jay W. Richards also from the book swap.

A fair and honest debate about religious responses to environmental issues should always distinguish theological principles from prudential judgments.  The Cornwall Declaration and the accompanying essays in this volume were written to do just that.  They were not written to provide theological rationale for current environmentalist fashion.  Rather, they seek to articulate the broad Judeo-Christian theological principles concerning the environment, and to distinguish those principles from contrary ideas popular in the environmental movement.

6.  Summer Blowout by Claire Cook from the book swap.

A good makeup artist never panics. Bella Shaughnessy knows this. She’s the resident makeup maven in a family of Boston Irish hair salon owners; she has an artful solution to almost every problem. But Bella feels bruised beyond the reach of even the best concealer when her half-sister runs off with her husband. What could she come up with to cover a hurt like that? Plenty, it turns out. She conceives an invigorating new business idea, and soon meets a cute entrepreneur who can help out. Despite their bickering, they can’t seem to stay away from success–or from each other.


7.  Daemons Are Forever by Simon R. Green from the book swap.

Eddie Drood’s clan has been watching mankind’s back for ages. And now he’s in charge of the whole kit and caboodle. But it’s not going to be an easy gig…

During World War II, the Droods made a pact with some nasty buggers from another dimension known as the Loathly Ones, which they needed to fight the Nazis. But once the war was over, the Loathly Ones decided that they liked this world too much to leave. Now it’s up to Eddie to make things very uncomfortable for them or watch everything humanity holds dear go up in smoke.

What did you receive?