By Stewart Grant
Recently I got my hands on a copy of Dan Rankin’s posthumously-published novel, “Fire from the Flowers”. With life busy, I don’t often sit down to read books and I very rarely read fiction novels, however Dan’s literary fantasy got me hooked right from the first page. I’m currently half-way through the novel…eagerly awaiting to see how things work out for the hero, Peo of Gairess.
Most of us are familiar with Dan’s writing from his time writing local stories in the newspaper (he was editor of the St. Marys Independent last year before his tragic car accident). If that has been your exposure to Dan’s writing talents, then in the words of Bachman Turner Overdrive, “You ain’t seen nothing yet”.
Unconstrained by the typical format of newspaper reporting or by the limitations of word counts, Dan was able to unleash all his writing abilities in this novel and effectively paint the picture of the fantasy world that he had created.
The first paragraphs are a fine example of how his descriptive abilities draw the reader into his story:
“The mouth of Peo’s gunny sack came undone and in an instant the throne room’s stale ancient air was overcome by a pungent lavender smell.
Seated in his throne, King Raymir watched the newly returned adventurer reach into a wind-beaten leather bindle and delicately remove a blossom about the size of a closed fist. Peo set it neatly in the centre of an ornate table at the King’s feet. Then, as if not considering that solitary wonder to be spectacle enough, he tilted the sack and let dozens more fall from it. They descended at a mesmerizing lighter-than-air pace, piling on and around the first, and finally spilling out onto the throne room floor. The King lifted his gaze to observe his guest—seeing him now, not as his nephew—but as someone who had just lived up to his impressive reputation.”
A number of people in town are currently making their way through Dan’s book or have done so already. Copies of the novel pre-ordered through the Independent have now arrived and most have been picked up already. I see now that additional copies are now available online through the Amazon site.
I began reading “Fire from the Flowers” because of who wrote it. I’m going to complete reading it because of how interested I am in learning how the story plays out.