The Ropemaker (2001), by Peter Dickinson

This is an epic narrative about the transition from one era to the next in a fantasy world.  The new era is ushered in by the passing of a token from one powerful magician to the next, and in this case facilitated by our protagonists, who must journey out of the comfort of their pastoral valley existence to locate the magician who can help them heal their valley… so they think.  But they are caught up on the affairs of the Empire, and set in motion the changes that herald the coming of the new era.

It is well written, but a bit long for the tale.  Unlike Lord of the Rings, there are not enough politics to sustain the length of the book, and it drags at points.  Regardless, it is a fascinating and original story, and does lead one to want to read the sequel, Angel Isle (2007). That is not to say the ending is unsatisfying—the text stands alone completely; the sequel must be another story in the same setting, but not requiring a connection to the intricate and complete plot of The Ropemaker. It is on my self, so maybe I should read it next…

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