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No reader of fantasy literature should be unfamiliar with the work of Lloyd Alexander, author of the classic Prydain Chronicles (based on Welsh mythology, particularly The Mabinogion) and other works based on the mythologies of other cultures. His books are children’s literature, but anyone who sees in that distinction some indication of “lesser quality” is a person who is not really interested in fine storytelling, but rather in intellectual pomposity. Harsh words, but there it is. Anyway, a happy occasion is the reissue this month of Alexander’s novel Westmark, the opening book in a trilogy set in a country called Westmark that is full of political intrigue and revolutionary fervor. The trilogy is only fantasy in that the story takes place in a make-believe locale, but there is no magic, no wizards, and no giant beasts; it’s more of a historical novel set in a place that never was. Westmark has been out of print for a number of years, and now it can be had again. Read it.

(Addendum: The WESTMARK reissue is part of the launch of Firebird, a new imprint by Penguin Books that is geared toward “excellence in fantasy and science fiction”. They are to be commended and supported in this endeavor. Godspeed, Firebird!!!)

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