There is a certain freedom attendant to writing about The Once and Future King with the knowledge that I cannot possibly do it justice. I can write without the pressure to reach an unattainable goal. Now, if young Wart — Arthur — had commenced with such foreknowledge of inevitable failure, he’d never have bothered tugging the sword from the stone.
In any given bookstore or library you are likely to find historical fiction shelved in with the fantasy and science fiction: e.g., Harold Lamb ends up near Fritz Leiber. This is an understandable mistake. There is a certain amount of overlap involved in the content.
This another of my erratically spaced web log posts concerning the books of Appendix N. Today I consider “The Face in the Frost” by John Bellairs, a delightfully charming short novel.
Bellairs is known for children’s books and at first glance “The Face in the Frost” seems to fit that categorization. It begins whimsically. And a certain sense of whimsy suffuses the entire narrative. But the story soon turns onto increasingly dark pathways. This is not a children’s book. Real dread prevents the comical adventures of Prospero (“not the one you are thinking of”) and Roger Bacon from becoming too light to take seriously.