July 2004
© 2004 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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Destruction of the Books by Mel Odom
Tor HCVR: ISBN 0765307235 PubDate: 07/01/04
Review by Bill Lawhorn

384 pgs. List price $25.95
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There’s a fire in the library! The knowledge of the world is at risk. How much is going to be lost? If you can only save a few books, which ones do you save? Author Mel Odom returns to the world first seen in The Rover. Dweller librarian Edgewick (Wick) Lamplighter is now the master librarian at the Vault of All Knowledge. Curiosity and the need to add to the Vault are his great weaknesses. Dwellers are Halflings whose main purpose in life seems to be the doormat to other races.

This book follows the journey of Jugh, a former slave who becomes a librarian. Not content with life at the Vault, and how he is treated there, Jugh joins the crew of a pirate ship. His only friend and protector is Raisho a human pirate. Together they plan to enrich themselves but instead find an adventure when they hear of a book traveling on a goblin ship.

Jugh finds the mysterious book in the keeping of a wizard, traveling on a goblin ship. After a costly sea battle to recover the book, it is brought to the Vault of All Knowledge. The problem is that it is in no known language. Jugh and Wick are determined to decipher this book, but at what cost? Now after many years as the head of the library Wick faces the greatest test of his tenure, someone is trying to destroy the knowledge of the world. The enemies of the Vault have sent this book as a trap to help them find and destroy the Vault. To add to the troubles the isolated dweller population that is supposed to help maintain the Vault no longer wants to, instead preferring to enrich themselves.

This novel seems to be the starting point for a series of adventures. Jugh will be forced to confront his fears as he tries to accomplish the task set before him by Wick. Reading The Rover first is helpful, but not necessary. The Rover follows the adventures of Wick after he is shanghaied onto a pirate ship. The characters and world are redefined to make this an easy stand alone read.

I found this to be a quick and enjoyable read. As the adventure takes off I found myself pushing to finish. I enjoy a book that allows me to think about a bigger question of life outside the story being told. Here the question is what is the role of knowledge in life? Should it be hoarded or shared. By rejecting knowledge of yourself and your past do you give up more? The biggest problem was finding that the story wasn’t done, but the start of a greater whole. If you enjoy the tales of little people overcoming big odds, then you’ll enjoy this book.

Author Mel Odom has also written books in the Buffy and Angel world, as well as a few Sabrina the Teenage Witch stories. He has also been involved in the Forgotten Realms, Shadowrun, and Mechwarriors series.

© 2004 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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