Here, There Be Dragons
(The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica #1)
by James A. Owen
“What is it?” John asked.
The little man blinked and arched an eyebrow.
“It is the world, my boy,” he said. “All the world, in ink and blood, vellum and parchment, leather and hide. It is the world, and it is yours to save or lose.”
An unusual murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, on a rainy night in London during the first World War. An eccentric little man called Bert tells them that they are now the caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica — an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale. These lands, Bert claims, can be traveled to in his ship the Indigo Dragon, one of only seven vessels that is able to cross the Frontier between worlds into the Archipelago of Dreams.
Pursued by strange and terrifying creatures, the companions flee London aboard the Dragonship. Traveling to the very realm of the imagination itself, they must learn to overcome their fears and trust in one another if they are to defeat the dark forces that threaten the destiny of two worlds.
Can you imagine a world wherein the famous Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien came upon an atlas of imaginary geographies, met a variety of characters like fauns, badgers, elves, dwarfs, goblins and the like and together they embarked on a journey to the world of fantasy?
Here, There Be Dragons is awesome. It’s a lot of fun, sprawling, entertaining, funny and totally engrossing. I was able to read this book to my kids for their weekly bedtime stories. They couldn’t resist a story about dragons so they always manage to curl up beside me and remind me to read this book again and again. I was lucky to have come upon this book at National Bookstore last Halloween. I thought it was perfect – hardbound, glossy and with pictures and illustrations on every chapter – much to the delight of my sons.
The story revolved around three Oxford men, found themselves visiting a murdered professor in London (1917). There, a strange little man compels them to run from the beasts who did the murder. They went on-board a dragon ship and sailed to the waters where everything that exists in fable, myth, and legend has a real counterpart. They three must guard a book of maps and language that could be put to foul use by the Winter King. Imagine King Arthur of Avalon’s great heir fighting along side-by-side with Captain Nemo of Nautilus, and those elves and dwarfs joining forces against the trolls and goblins a-la Lord of the Rings.
The surprise ending is like the icing on a cake. The smiles I saw on my sons’ faces – it was so worth it. I love that this had been easy to read, it was a well-written novel and invoked wonderful images and fascinating feelings. Author James A. Owen truly has a wild vivid imagination, further intensified by the illustrations on every chapter and he managed to put together three wonderful characters (check out the ending of the book wherein the full names of the main characters were revealed), to a sprawling, magical tale that kids and adults would surely love and thus creating such an original, rich tapestry of an entirely new world. Kudos! My kids and I are now ready to read the next book – The Search for the Red Dragon! Yay!