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    Review of THE DESTRUCTION OF THE BOOKS by Mel Odom

    Tor, July 2004

    Ex-Librarian and Dweller Juhg has left the great library that holds all of the books rescued from an evil warlord's attempt to destroy all knowledge, seeking some way of escaping, holding onto vague dreams of rescuing his enslaved family. But when he picks up a rumor that there is a book on a ship of goblins, he knows his duty--to recover that book and return it to the library. If that duty means that the sailors hold him responsible, that is a part of the price he is willing to pay. But returning the book is only the beginning of the adventure. Because the goblins and their allies have never given up on their attempt to discover where the great library his hidden--and will do anything to destroy it and all it holds.

    Unfortunately for the sake of knowledge, the Dwellers most responsible for providing librarians, for creating new copies of the ancient books, for translating forgotten languages into the common language of the day, are increasingly too busy eating, having children, and squabbling over money to do their duties to the library. Despite his intention to stay away, Juhg is drawn back into the politics and danger of the library itself.

    Author Mel Odom (see more reviews of novels by Odom) starts with the standard fantasy world--elves, dwarves, hobbit-like 'dwellers,' goblins, wizards, and the rest, and gives it a twist with the library. Juhg's analysis of the problems caused by the library--and it's decision to continue its monopoly on books--shows a level of thought and insight that is rare in fantasy. In a world where anti-intellectualism is often key to being elected, and where books are used for decoration as much as for reading, Odom's points ring true.

    Of course, none of that would mean much if Odom didn't deliver a bang-up adventure. And in THE DESTRUCTION OF THE BOOKS, he does, in fact, deliver a superior story.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 8/24/05

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