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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

An Exciting New Voice In Children's Fantasy

Riverkeep - Martin Stewart

A rich, gothic fantasy about Wull and his father who keep the river free from ice in the winter but whose lives are overturned by the arrival upstream of a mormorach, a huge, magical creature that causes all sorts of other long-dormant magic to awaken, including the terrible bohdan which takes possession of Wull's father.


Stewart's writing positively seethes with raw talent and imaginative power but his structure is slightly ramshackle.  He has a tendency to move the plot on by generating an endless supply of  lavishly grotesque characters. They are great fun but it's not always clear why they are in the story.


As a result the narrative ends up littered with loose ends and abandoned sub-plots so that in the end you are left wondering what it was all about. Nonetheless, Riverkeep is a remarkable debut and heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in children's fantasy.