________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 24 . . . . February 24, 2012


The Flyers. (The Wind of Life, Book 1).

Oliver Neubert.
Vancouver, BC: Purple Branch Publishing, 2011.
185 pp., pbk. & eBook, $8.50 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-0-9868525-0-3 (pbk.). 978-0-9868525-1-0 (eBook).

Grades 8-11 / Ages 13-16.

Review by Chris Laurie.

***½ /4



Timo again looked down towards the Flatlands and the great, blue lake. For a split second he thought of the Wanderers living there. Why would they have killed my father? He wondered, but quickly focused on his challenge again. He spread his wings wide and moved them up and down. Though his wing muscles felt tense, he was strong and determined. He could feel every feather and every blood vessel.

“Eight, seven…”

Timo smelled the air again; he closed his wings and folded them so they were close to his body as he had seen the Rescue Flyers do before they jumped off the Cliff.

“Six, five…”

After I jump I have to count to seven before opening my wings, just like the Rescue Flyers do when they take their final test before being accepted into the Hall of Glory.

“Four, three…”

He was deep in thought now, smelling and feeling, but no longer listening to his friend’s countdown. In his mind he was already racing down the Cliff. Suddenly he heard, “Go!”

Dino’s shout made him jump head first down the Cliff into the abyss below.

The Flyers is volume one in Neubert’s “Wind of Life” trilogy. Told from the point of view of 15-year-old Timo who is anxious to follow in his late father’s footsteps, to not only belong to the Rescue Flyer’s, but to be the best.

      As he recovers in the Halls of Healing after a disastrous first flight, Timo learns that an infant has been born without wings. The mountain-dwelling, winged Flyers have been at war for generations with the wingless Wanderers of the Flatlands. The reason for the hatred between the two races has been lost in time, and it is the law that any wingless newborns be put to death.

      Timo awakens to hear his schoolmate Val crying. It is her brother that has been born wingless and taken away to be killed. She has seen two shadows flying to the Mountain of Glory, carrying a small bundle wrapped in a white blanket.

      Wardor, the evil Lord of the War Flyers, is responsible for capturing the infant, one of several who have recently been born to the community without wings. He is preparing to invoke Walhalor –a state of emergency, overthrow the Elders and declare war on the Wanderers.

      After rescuing her baby brother and narrowly escaping Wardor’s guards, Val leaves the infant with her grandmother and hurries to meet up with Timo. The Rescue Flyers have fled the mountain to Ardar, the dark place where the Flyer of Death rules, where they will determine how to combat Waldor.

      While their plans take shape, Timo, his best friend Dino, and Val learn that they are each possessors of great gifts. Dino has the gift to be a great navigator; Val, the ability to see the future; and Timo to communicate with the Wind and to be the best Flyer ever.

      Dino has discovered four ancient texts in which the Elders have encoded the ancient knowledge that the Wanderers and the Flyers are, in fact, one people. This information will also allow the Flyers and the Wanderers to find peace and live together again.

      But is it too late? Timo learns that the wingless child has again been seized by Waldor and that he plans to throw the boy over the Cliff. As Timor races to save the infant, he enlists the help of the wind, of the wolves, members of the Wanderers, and a spy in Wardor’s ranks.

      This action-packed, fast-paced novel successfully creates an entire world, complete with multigenerational storyline and a complex mythology. The Flyers takes readers into a mysterious world not completely unlike their own, with teenage protagonists trying to make sense of the world and to find their place in it. As Timor gradually learns about his community and its history, he also learns who he is, and how he can work with others to try and make a better future. This first novel in the trilogy introduces readers to the Flyers and Wanderers, and also to the other creatures inhabiting this strange world, such as the Wolf People and the mythological Death Flyer, creating much exciting potential for further storylines in the upcoming second and third books.

      Book two will take place among the Wanderers in the Flatlands who have been at war with the Flyers for generations. A short preview of Book Two can be found after the conclusion of this novel.

      BC author Oliver Neubert has previous published two titles: Chantel’s Quest for the Golden Sword and Chantel’s Quest for the Enchanted Medallion.

Highly Recommended.

Chris Laurie is an Outreach Librarian at Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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