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Review: The Great North – J. Scott Coatsworth

The Great North - J. Scott Coatsworth

Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fantasy, Mythology, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Ulysses, Paranormal Romance Guild

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About The Book

Dwyn is a young man in the small, isolated northern town of Manicouga, son of the Minstor, and betrothed to marry the beautiful Kessa in just a few weeks.

Mael is shepherding the remains of his own people from Land’s End, a village much farther north, chased out by a terrible storm that destroyed the town.

Both are trying to find their way in a post-apocalyptic world. When they meet, their love may change the world, and the course of history.

The Review

This trippy little novella is a fascinating mixture of fantasy and sci-fi, with a post-apocalyptic surprise that I did not see coming.

Inspired, apparently, by the Welsh version of the St. Valentine’s myth, the story is set in an indefinable place called Manicouga, and focuses on the trials and tribulations of a young man named Dwyn. In a prospering village that feels vaguely medieval – but also somehow not – Dwyn is the son of the town’s Minstor, and one day, while picking corn on the edge of town, meets a ragtag group of refugees from a more northerly town called Land’s End.

It is a simple set-up – the survivors of a natural disaster are seeking temporary quarters, and look to the people of Manicouga for assistance. Their leader, a tall blond man called Mael, embodies his people’s culture, but also all of Dwyn’s problems, as he wrestles with his own immediate feelings for this strapping foreigner, and their implications in the context of his own eerily puritanical little civilization. All of this takes place in a very small world that seems to be part of a much larger world, which is for some reason very little known by the people of Manicouga.

Once Dwyn and Mael discover the secret to their shared ancestry, it all becomes clear – and something quite unnerving and different from what I was anticipating.

Coatsworth has his romantic agenda, along with his marvelous desire to re-cast a Welsh myth into something from which his readers can draw both solace and uncomfortable wisdom. You can’t read his stories without thinking, or at least you can’t really appreciate them if you don’t.

The Reviewer

Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave It to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator since 1980, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel to Desmond, is his second novel.

Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of over 41 years and their two almost-grown children.

By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother was the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City.

The Paranormal Romance Guild was established in 2009 by 8 Indie Authors and one Reviewer to be a constant help for authors. You can be a free author member, submitting your work for review OR become a Premium Author Member for a small yearly fee and enjoy many extra services including Free Beta Reads, Author Giveaways and many others. Your reviews are posted on our 3 FB Sites, Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter and Instagram. WE REVIEW ALL GENRES LGBTQ+ welcome.

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