Friday 27 July 2007

The Santa Mysteries by: S. William Shaw

The Santa Mysteries
S. William Shaw
Lulu Press

After finishing this book, my only regret was that there is not yet more available from Shaw. Shaw's writing style is very similar to Steven Brust, especially Brust's -- 'Vlad Taltos' books. This book is a fun, humourous, fast-paced book that will draw you in and keep you racing for the end, and then leave you wanting more.

This story focuses around the adventures of three youngsters; our man with a plan is Bennett Short, and his two sidekicks are Darcy Decker and the Pickle, aka Stanley Valentine. Bennett is a big fan of the Man in Red, and we do not mean the one with horns and pitchf
ork. Santa is his hero and he has a plan to sneak aboard Santa's sleigh. He wants to get to the North Pole and find out all the Santa Mysteries and write a tell-all book and make a gazillion dollars.

But as most of us know, things do not always go according to plan. Bennett and his friends do get to the North Pole and they get to hang out with Santa. However Darcy's curiosity leads to devastating results.

In this awesome little book you will find our Al Gore as a robot created by Santa, and see Santa abducted by aliens who hate Christmas and all that is fun. You will watch Darcy go from being arrogant and expecting Pickles to mess things up, to realizing that he does so again and again. Yet with all of that, Darcy never gives up and keeps striving to correct his mistakes and make up for the damage he has done.

This is in part a coming of age story, part adventure and a whole lot of fun. We watch Darcy grow and mature, and we in turn can learn from him and face the struggles and difficulties in our lives anew. The greatest power of story is that story at its best is myth, but not myth in something that is not real, but myth in the sense of the ultimate underlying reality of existence. Shaw captures the essence of that second type of myth in this and his other book Sherman Oak and the Magic Potato. In that sense, even though he has only published 2 books, he is in my opinion a great writer.

This is a book that was so fun to read I have already started it a second time, this time reading it more slowly to savor the story rather than racing through as I did the first time I read it.

This book would be a great end-of-term summer read, and now you can get the ebook version of it for free. The author, on his website, is offering the ebook versions of either of his books free. So stop by and drop him an email and you can get 2 great books to read for free, or if you prefer you can order them through Amazon and get hard copies and support his writing of more adventures for you and me to enjoy.

(First published in Imprint 2007-07-27 in the book review column.)
p.s. It would be great to see illustrated versions of his books at some point in the future.

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