This week we are reviewing "Diaries of a Dwarven Rifleman", co-authored by Michael Tinker Pearce and Linda Pearce. This book is a real departure from the usual run-of-the-mill epic-fantasy dwarves-and-elves style books. Think about Tolkien's dwarves, give them modern weaponry and sit back and watch the fun.
Engvyr’s father gave up on the miner’s life to move the family back to their ancestral home in the far north. But the journey is fraught with perils the young dwarf has never imagined, and when tragedy casts him in the role of hero, well, what’s a dwarf to do? The events of that fateful journey have shaped and ruled his life, but now Engvyr wants nothing more than to make a place for himself, perhaps settle down and raise a family. But when a new enemy rises in the North he finds himself at the center of the conflict, with not merely the freedom of his people but the fate of all of humanity hanging in the balance… and the habit of heroism is a hard one to break. In Diaries of a Dwarven Rifleman magic, science and technology work hand-in-hand to create a new kind of fantasy world, where the character, life and relationships of an ordinary dwarf can steer the course of history and save a world.
Truthfully, I have no idea why I picked this little jewel of a tale up, but it was a good choice. The tale is comprised of many vignettes of Engvyr Gunnarson's life. Forced by circumstances to leave their home and return to the dwarven homeland, Engvyr's family embarks on an long and perilous trek. The events and losses on that journey shape the adult that the young dwarf becomes, molding him into a reluctant hero.
Engvyr never gives in to the casual brutality that characterizes his society, nor does he allow racism to interfere with his understanding of human nature and the basic underlying fact of the races - that ALL the races evolved from a common root - that of humans, and all share a common humanity. Early on he is taught that despite the radical differences in appearance and widely divergent societal differences, all the races of people want the same basic things: enough food for their children, and a safe place to raise them.
Engvyr understands that when a society removes the humanity from an enemy ethnic group, it becomes easy to commit the most extreme atrocities against them, all in the name of whatever cause one is fighting for. Because he understands the underlying truth of this, Engvyr brings compassion to his battles, and a desire to do good.
There is a great deal of Norse mythology woven into this tale, as well as Nordic mores and values. These characters are strong people with great capacities for both love and cruelty.
For those of you who are weapons purists, you will be happy to note that the weapons Engvyr carries are original and scrupulously designed to be both real and fantastic at the same time. It is apparent that the authors have a true knowledge of guns and knives, and weaponry in general. Indeed, +Michael Tinker Pearce is known as the 'Swordgeek' and regularly blogs and gives podcasts on the subject of swords.
You can get 'Diaries of a Dwarven Rifleman' for the kindle at amazon.com by clicking on this link:
All in all, this is an excellent, well written and well thought out book.