The Seventh Seal
At last, intelligent Young Adult Fiction that doesn’t preach.
New author Andrew Dobbs has opened his writing career with an ambitious project, to challenge young minds without lecturing or dumbing down, a tricky path. The Seventh Seal is at first glance just another entry into the overcrowded Harry Potter arena with mysterious Keepers and evil villains. However this is a completely different beast.
The Seventh Seal is a wide reaching and thought provoking yarn which upsets the normal Young Adult with its Steampunk approach. The story itself is not groundbreaking, a secret group protecting the world from evil and a reluctant hero forced into the fray. What is different however is that firstly most Young Adult fiction tends to be very parochial, focusing on a small world central to the hero, and secondly it rarely challenges adolescent minds with concepts that are actually of interest to them rather than those which the literati feel should be propounded.
Andrew Dobbs clearly has a fascination for historical mysteries and rumour as he weaves real life historical characters into the narrative and skilfully speculates on the magic behind the scenes. Using notes by Newton and other respected historical sources The Seventh Seal deftly brings together modern scientific ideas with alchemy and necromancy then flips them into a fantastical alternate world which seems strangely familiar yet distinctly alien.
Our hero, Daniel Stone, is thrust straight into mayhem when he is kidnapped by an evil group who are intent on seizing the Seven Seals which control all of life on earth. Learning that his father before him held the position of Keeper of one of these seals, Daniel realises it now falls to him to protect the last seal at all costs or life itself is at risk.
Dobbs is certainly not short of ideas as he throws in concepts that would, in other hands, drown a book in complexity and confusion. Yet here the author leads the reader through the worlds he creates with the skill of a master story teller.
The weaving of real historical figures and ideas with supposition is sure to have inquisitive minds heading for history or reference books in search of some of the more esoteric background mentioned here. For me, as a reader, it’s always the sign of a good book when some little snippet of detail in a book sends me in search of more information on the subject and this book is chock full of such snippets.
All in all a first class entry for a new author and we look forward to seeing how this saga develops over the next in the series.
The Book Reviewer