Title: Vine: An Urban Legend
Publisher: Blackwyrm Publishing
Release Date: March 2012
Pages: 192 pages
About the Book:
Amateur theatre director Stephen Thorne plots a sensational production of a Greek tragedy in order to ruffle feathers in the small city where he lives. Accompanied by an eccentric and fly-by-night cast and crew, he prepares for opening night, unaware that as he unleashes the play, he has drawn the attention of ancient and powerful forces.
Michael Williams’ Vine weds Greek Tragedy and urban legend with dangerous intoxication, as the drama rushes to its dark and inevitable conclusion.
When I heard that Michael Williams, who co-wrote many of the books in the Dragonlance fantasy series, had a new book out, I was very interested to read it. I really enjoyed reading the Dragonlance books in the 80s, and looked forward to seeing how Williams’ personal writing style read.
Vine: An Urban Legend, is nothing like Dragonlance, but that is not a bad thing. Vine interweaves characters from Greek mythology with the story of a modern retelling of the story of Dionysus, god of wine and excess. At the start of the novel, the characters are released from their slumber and begin inserting themselves into the lives of the actors, their friends and family. Real-life tragedy ensues as the discontented and disenfranchised are swept up in the wild bacchanalia of the gods.
Is there a moral here? I’m not sure, but while I found the book a little unsatisfying, I loved reading it all the same. The words ebbed and flowed like poetry in my mind. See what you think:
What Stephen does not see — what only a goddess herself would notice, her eyes expectant on a green, half-imagined glade behind the car– is the shadow rising over the pond, indistinguishable at first from the reflection of new leaves and the shade cast by the dip of the sun below the high hill that Stephen’s car is now ascending. That darkness slowly resolves into something more solid. Dead branches, impervious to the new spring, bend before a stronger, invisible power, their reflections stirred by something surfacing into expectant dusk.
I give Vine: An Urban Legend 3 1/2 Greek vases – an enjoyable and intelligent read.
About the Author:
Michael Williams was born in Louisville, Kentucky. Much of his childhood was spent in the south central part of the state, amid red dirt, tobacco farms, and murky legends of Confederate guerillas. He has spent a dozen years in various parts of the world, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, with stopovers in Ireland and England, and emerged from the experience surprisingly unscathed.
Upon returning to the Ohio River Valley, he has published a series of novels of increasing oddness,combinations of what he characterizes as “gothic/historical fiction/fantasy/sf/redneck magical realism” beginning with Weasel’s Luck (1988) and Galen Beknighted (1990), the critically acclaimed Arcady (1996) and Allamanda (1997), and, most recently, Trajan’s Arch (2010). His new novel Vine will be released this summer.
He lives in Corydon, Indiana with his wife, Rhonda, and a clowder of cats.
Follow Michael Williams by WEBSITE
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for review from First Rule Publicity from the author as part of a virtual book tour. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”