Home—Malvern, Worcestershire, England.
The Wanderer's Tale, Tor (New York, NY), 2007.
A Fire in the North, Tor (New York, NY), 2008.
David Bilsborough published his first book, The Wanderer's Tale, in 2007. When asked in an interview on Pat's Fantasy Hotlist where he got the idea for the novel, Bilsborough responded: "Sorry to be so unoriginal, but it has to be Tolkien. At the age of fifteen I just had to write my own version of [Lord of the Rings] (as one does at that age) but came up with the idea of writing it in the style of Chaucer's Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, which we were studying at the time. I combined this with a not-too-serious idea my fellow nerds and I had been discussing all year, that of going on our own real-life [Dungeons & Dragons] quest to Cheddar Gorge, complete with pseudonyms, costume armour, and bicycles instead of horses. (Oh Lordy, am I really telling you this?) Seven years later it had turned into a 375-page epic poem, all in rhyme, and all of it the most unoriginal tripe imaginable."
The fantasy novel creates the setting in the land of Lyndormyn, where the war-like Peladanes interrupted the rule of terror by Rawgr Drauglir. Hundreds of years later, those evil forces are rumored to have returned and a group of wanderers, including a wanderer called Bolldhe, Finwald and Appa, one-eyed mercenary Paulus, Torca sorcerer Wodeman, fighters Nibulus and his desert friend Methuselech, and Gapp, seek him out to confirm these reports. Along the way, they encounter all sorts of characters, dangers, and get into some adventures of their own.
Hilary Williamson, writing in BookLoons, noted that "though the book shows great imagination, it simply packs too much in. However, for those who can stick with it, a dramatic cliffhanger of an ending sets the scene" for the novel's sequel, A Fire in the North. Rhomylly Forbes, writing in the Romantic Times Online, found the story to be "well written with intriguing and unusual characters." Forbes noted, however, that the "plot is utterly predictable," even to the point of bordering on "satire." A contributor to the Fantasy Book Critic said that the debut novel "is a fantasy that aspired for great things,—even though I'm still not sure what that was—but ultimately failed due to poor writing & execution. Yet, I have to give the man some due. Supposedly the author spent twelve years writing The Wanderer's Tale, after it was originally conceived as a poem at the age of 15." The contributor noted that after all the rejections Bilsborough received, "it's hard not to be impressed with Mr. Bilsborough's perseverance. Of course, it will probably take that same perseverance for readers just to finish" the novel.
Graeme Flory, writing in Graeme's Fantasy Book Review, remarked that "reading it though was like trudging through mud in pursuit of a glittering prize that was forever out of reach." Flory suggested that "a little less verbosity … could have helped things to flow a lot more." Mark Yon, reviewing the book in SFFWorld.com, noted that upon finishing the novel, "the obstacles created in the book far outweighed any hope of positivity I had anticipated." Yon mentioned that "for someone perhaps new to the genre, this book might be acceptable. However, my overriding feeling on finishing was that the book could have been written a decade ago; it does not show anything like the smoothness of prose or plot shown by established writers." Booklist contributor Roland Green found the fantasy realm the author created to be "loaded with detail, originality, and wit." Green described the novel as "a very promising debut." Library Journal contributor Jackie Cassada called the heroes "resourceful," adding that Bilsborough "provides the necessary exposition to set the stage" for further sequels.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, July 1, 2007, Roland Green, review of The Wanderer's Tale, p. 44.
Library Journal, June 15, 2007, Jackie Cassada, review of The Wanderer's Tale, p. 60.
Publishers Weekly, May 28, 2007, review of The Wanderer's Tale, p. 41.
BookLoons,http://www.bookloons.com/ (April 10, 2008), Hilary Williamson, review of The Wanderer's Tale.
Fantasy Book Critic,http://fantasybookcritic.blogspot.com/ (June 9, 2007), review of The Wanderer's Tale.
FantasyBookSpot.com,http://www.fantasybookspot.com/ (April 10, 2008), author interview.
Graeme's Fantasy Book Review,http://www.graemesfantasybookreview.com/ (February 13, 2008), Graeme Flory, review of The Wanderer's Tale.
Pat's Fantasy Hotlist,http://fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com/ (June 8, 2007), author interview.
Romantic Times Online,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (April 10, 2008), Rhomylly Forbes, review of The Wanderer's Tale.
SFFWorld.com,http://www.sffworld.com/ (June 2, 2007), Mark Yon, review of The Wanderer's Tale.