Oldenglen (Volume I) by Robin Mason and Michael Mason

Oldlenglen

Reviewed by Teri Davis

“In the center of a small glade in a deep wood, an animal crouched, hidden within the shadow of a pillar of blood-red stone. One paw rested on the cool, rough granite. The eyes of the animal closed. It breathed quietly, its flanks rising and falling; its black nose quivered. It seemed to be listening…sensing. All around, the forest was still…The glade echoed with the sound of its fury. And with its fear…Danger was coming-they could feel it, though none but the beast from the glade knew what it was.”

Most people don’t enjoy moving to a new home and that is true for Jax. In England, Jackson who goes by the name of Jax, plays ball, has his friends from school and was enjoying life.

Change is part of life and his father moves the family to a remote wooded area of Oregon. The idea of starting over at a new school in a different country and making new friends does not seem exciting. In this area, the closest neighbors are just an elderly couple who happen to own the land and who live a little distance away. Jax feels as if he is living in the middle of nowhere, completely isolated with only his parents.

For lack of anything to do, Jax begins to discover the wooded areas and begins to communicate with nature. He quickly learns of the animals who inhabit these woods and with the assistance of a little magic. As he daily grows closer to nature, he also begins to respect each animal’s perspective of the world around them including their fears and daily joys while still maintaining the predator/prey relationship in nature.

The theme of land conservation vs. suburban sprawl is well-stated throughout the novel. With the suggested audience being children 8-12, Oldenglen weaves a magical tale for all readers. This could easily be a read aloud book for children 6-9 with fairly short chapters or chapters that are divided. This novel is ideal for teachers as it is a rich resource of literary elements, especially foreshadowing.

This joint father/son writing team is excellent. Characters are well-developed, the setting is rich with descriptions allowing the reader to visualize each event as the story progresses, and a plot that seems predictable but has twists and turns keeping the reader engaged to the last page.

The authors masterfully use a bit of humor throughout the story. A great example of this is the discussion about Jax’s paw coverings which are obviously, shoes. “No self-respecting creature covers their paw prints.”

With the authors, being father and son, both were born in England. The idea of the story is a result of the family renting a large estate in British Columbia, Canada years ago obviously when Robin was young. Robin who is a lawyer today, actually resides in a twelve-acre forest. For his father, Michael Mason, this is his first novel. He has earned a doctorate in English literature and is a published poet and playwright.

The idea of doing what is right even when you have no voice is prevalent. One or two against the world is a theme that rings true on every page.

“For both, the worst summer had become the best summer ever, one they didn’t want to end. Every day was magical. Everything was magical – everything except the unwanted and seemingly increasing human presence in the glen.”

Oldenglen is the first novel in the series entitled “The Oldenglen Chronicles.” I unquestionably look forward to the entire series in this new and invigorating series by this masterful storytelling father/son duo.

Click Here to Purchase Oldenglen (Volume 1)

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