Bones of the Old Ones

“See, frost, snow covered landscape… this is a good Christmas read!” I say, not entirely seriously. I’m reading Kurtzhau – age 10 – the almost appropriate adult Fantasy novel, The Bones of the Old Ones by Howard Andrew Jones.

Kurtzhau is playfully sarcastic. “Oh yes, Dad–”

Yes, since three weeks ago, he now resolutely calls me”Dad”. My little Harald Hardrada is growing up, but not so much that he objects to me reading to him. Mostly I pick books that are slightly too grown up, but that make sense if we can stop of to discuss moral issues and decision points.

“–it’s very Christmasy, with snow witches and ginormous monsters and fighting and…”

We both share a laugh and I read on, and, several days later — tonight — we get to the bitter sweet end.

It is an amazing book. Imagine Arabian Nights fan fiction with story concept by Clark Ashton Smith, plot by Jack Vance and characters by Fritz Lieber. It’s more than that, though. It uses magic to broach issues to do with power and responsibility, and the tension between Olympian thinking and the rights of humans to be human… It has that easy depth that makes it an instant classic.

I wish there were more in this series.  I would gladly spend many many more hours in the company of Dabir and Asim.

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