Fiction: Patricia A. McKillip

Alphabet of Thorn


Patricia A. McKillip
2004

This is a very elaborate fantasy book that was a lot of fun to read! The narrative skips around between various characters and time periods. I never would have expected a book where the central event is an ancient book being translated to have been so good! The plot follows a young orphan translator in the royal library obsessively translating an old book with an alphabet that resembles thorns, the young queen and her royal mage trying to find out what is going wrong in the kingdom, and an ancient king and his mage striving to conquer every land possible. The stories all intertwine beautifully by the end of the book and the characters are interesting and three-dimensional.

The cover art is beautiful. It was drawn by K. Y. Craft and she seems to have actually read the book before doing the cover art! The beautiful cover art is a wonderful parallel to the flowing, beautiful writing in the book. The writing is different for the "modern" characters and the "historical" part of the story. Each style fits really well with the part of the story it tells. It was wonderful to read.

I loved this book. I highly recommend it to anyone!