The Runner and the Wizard – Dave Duncan

The-Runner-and-the-Wizard-Dave-Duncan_cover
Ivor of Glenbroch #1

Ivor is a teenager in the north of Britain, around 900 AD. When his volunteers for his thane’s mission to find a mysterious wizard, he lets himself in for more trouble than he bargained for.

Dave Duncan has a characteristically light touch, and a way with characters. He puts it to good use in this brief coming-of-age historical novel. Ivor faces difficulties, overcomes them, and learns about himself and the world.

There are no surprises here – if you’ve ever read a young man’s coming-of-age story, you know what’s coming. The Scots historical setting is interesting, if a little on the Wikipedia side. Mostly what works is Duncan’s trademark earnest, capable young character, bravely facing difficulty.

The story is short – 70 pages or so, but it works well for what there is. I’m not strongly driven to get what appear to be a couple of follow-ups, but the omnibus, Ivor of Glenbroch, might work well. As a standalone, this works as a slim YA story.

All in all, a pleasant, undemanding YA historical novel.

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