Saturday, July 5, 2014

Here's my review of Derrick Ferguson's YOUNG DILLON IN THE HALLS OF SHAMBALLAH. A really great adventure.

I'll start out by saying that I absolutely love the character Dillon, and the adventure stories that he stars in. Derrick Ferguson has skillfully created a detailed mythology surrounding the character, and I have yet to be disappointed by any of his exploits. This holds true for Young Dillon in the Halls of Shamballah, a 100 page novella published by Pro Se Press and PulpWork Press. Although this is marketed under Pro Se's Young Pulp imprint (and it really is a good starting point for younger readers interested in the character, and the genre), don't let that stop all you adults from picking it up. I'm 38 years old and I thoroughly enjoyed this release. It's the type of story that has an appeal for all ages. I'll eagerly be awaiting any future Young Dillon entries. Along with The Vril Agenda (if you want to read my review of that story, here's the link), Young Dillon expands on the history of the character, chronicling events that have only been alluded to in other stories. Personally, I've been wanting a release such as this one since I began reading the Dillon series. If you've been wondering about the mysterious events of Dillon's past, this is what you should be reading. Well, let's get to my review...

The paths that lead to fabled Shamballah are shadowy and hidden. Only the most dedicated of seekers find their way to the legendary realm. Once found, the traveler is advised to stay in his new home. The land of Shamballah inexplicably shifts from location to location, you see. Therefore the paths leading to it are never the same. None that have left its confines have ever found their way back. Sentry outposts are still maintained at the gates into Shamballah, however; both to greet new seekers, and to give warning, should something evil ever find the path and try to force its way in. The occupants of the Second Outpost are about to witness something unprecedented. Namely, a former resident of Shamballah finding her way back to the land. She brings her son with her, seeking refuge. The woman is Dillon's mother Pamela, and the boy, of course, is a 12 year old Dillon. Heroically staying behind to hold off their pursuers, Dillon's mother is ultimately overcome by her adversaries. Dillon makes it to the other side of the gate, and promptly collapses. Awakening in the care of The Warmasters, Dillon is surprised to find that his mother not only was a resident of Shamballah, but a prominent Warmaster... possibly the greatest of all of them. He is also faced with a choice. Stay in this strange new land, or make his way back to the world he knows, and the enemies that have slaughtered his family. The story that follows is one of discovery, from which a new hero will ultimately be forged. Dillon must discern between those who are his true friends, and those who are merely using him as a pawn in their games. The Warmasters only wish to help, or do they? You'll have to read the book to find out, I'm not telling...

As I said above, this is a story that I've been waiting for Derrick to write ever since I had a couple of Dillon's adventures under my belt. This is not the usual Dillon story, but an origin story about how he started down the path that made him into the hero that he is today. While still having more than enough action to satisfy, the biggest enjoyment I had was from watching Dillon react, and then adapt to the strange new people and customs of this mysterious land... and, of course, meeting The Warmasters of Liguria that have been mentioned so many times. This young man certainly shows flashes of the hero I've come to know and love, and the character grows throughout the tale. Scaling things down to a more inward looking story might be a problem for some, but Derrick handles the task brilliantly. His visual and highly descriptive style of writing is still in top form, and as I read this story, it was like I was actually in Shamballah, sharing this adventure. Authors who can so totally immerse a reader in their world are rare, and should be sought out and treasured. Young Dillon is an excellent starting point for new readers interested in the Dillon series, since you get to see him in his formative years, before he became a legend. For returning fans, it's mandatory (in my opinion), for the simple reason that we get many of the questions answered that we've been wondering about over the years. I really need to work my way back through the older stories, and examine them in a new light. In my opinion, this is another top notch entry in a excellent series, and I really can't recommend it enough! Go out and pick this up, dive in and enjoy the adventure!

Here's Derrick's blog.  Here's the Amazon product page. You can find Pro Se Productions here.  Here's the PulpWork Press site. Go out and pick up the book, and take a look around on the publisher's pages. I'm sure you'll find some really good stories there. With that, I'll sign off... Happy reading, all!

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