Last week, I announced that I would be embarking upon a reread of Tom Deitz’s David Sullivan Series. This is the next installment in that series of posts, wherein I review the first book, Windmaster’s Bane, with some thoughts and impressions on plot, character, and nostalgia.
In Windmaster’s Bane, David Sullivan—a young man with a penchant for folklore, legend, and magic—comes face to face with titanic forces out of ancient myth: the Sidhe.
It begins, ostensibly, when David happens to view a funeral procession, upside down, as he looks through his own legs. At that moment, the Sight—the ability to see things beyond what most mortal men can—awakens in David’s eyes, and things begin to happen.
David chases his younger brother, Billy, out into the night, and comes across a procession of the Sidhe. There are riddles in the night, and danger, and knowledge hard won, and vengeance sworn. David earns himself the enmity of Ailil, a Lord of the Sidhe and the eponymous Windmaster. As the wheel of the year turns, season to season, David is forced to match wits with Ailil and those who serve him, while striving to protect his family, his friends, and himself. In the process, he discovers he is—or has become—something of a hero.
David has character, in more ways than one. That, I think, is the thing that most drew me to the book. I identify with David. I understand him and that, to an extent, makes me feel a common understanding between myself and Tom Deitz, the author of Windmaster’s Bane.
At one point, David and his friend Alec, are talking, joking, and discussing their plans to go camping. Alec brings up an event from their last trip, saying “I mean, how could I forget you running around up at Lookout Rock, stark naked except for the fur collar off one of your mother’s old coats, smeared all over with fat from a dead possum you’d found beside the road, muttering incantations out of one of those old library books.”
As I mentioned last week, this image stuck with me. I responded to it. I understood what it felt like to want magic and adventure in your life so badly you’d do (almost) anything to get it. Now, while I never went quite so far as to slather myself in eau de roadkill, I respect David for doing it, and what’s more, my teenage self almost worshiped him for it.
And then there are the extensions of David’s character, his friends and his family. I say extensions of his character not just because of the old adage “a man is known by the company he keeps” (and David keeps very good company, in the persons of Alec and Liz), but also because his friends are integral to David’s success throughout the story. Alec is the supportive best friend, and Liz skirts that interesting line between friend and love interest. Together, the three of them project a camaraderie—a sort of all for one and one for all vibe—that really captures that essence of youthful adventure that we all crave (first when we’re young and dreaming of what might be, then later when we’re older and dreaming of what was or might have been).
The plot of the story is much simpler and more straightforward than I remembered (perhaps because elements of other books in the series had crept in, as time blurred the boundaries between them all). The writing is skillful, and the pacing pleasant and quick-but-not-breakneck. You can almost imagine the author telling this story on the back porch over the course of several sultry Georgia summer evenings.
And that’s what this book was, for me. It was a wonderful, pleasant read. It was captivating, engaging, and just an all around good experience.
I can’t wait for the next installment!
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