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Return to Archerland by H. R. Coursen
Sequel to The Search for Archerland by H. R. Coursen

Coursen's "Archerland" is Potter and more

"Archerland is a place Herb Coursen invented when he wrote his initial fantasy/allegory/morality fable in 1993. A free-flowing tale of good and evil, heroes, heroines, villains, monsters, and magic, it is the launching pad for this just-published sequel.

"What with Harry Potter firmly in charge of the best-seller lists and a book called The Indwelling (the seventh in a series about true believers who confront the Antichrist) at the top of the latest Times best-seller list, it's a wonder Coursen's imaginative tale hasn't drawn more attention. It has all the magic, all the action, all the sinister devices of darkness and the bright lights of virtue that give these fables their particular capacity to carry us off to another world. And Return to Archerland has a language you won't hear in Harry Potter's company, nor find in the pages of The Indwelling.

"Like all of Coursen's many books, it pulses with poetry, not with verse you understand, but the poetry of language, the poetry of prose rhythms, the poetry of imagery. Consider these insights of Queen Aprilla, the heroine, as she ponders a recent meeting with the tyrant Mazlund. "She saw under the surface of things. It had been her living in the mines for so long that had given her that insight. Underground she had learned to read the interior of things, to hear the truth beneath the spoken word, the tone that often said something other than what the words said, to read the shadow behind the object." A poetic and philosophic contemplation of the nature of truth is probable not what most readers expect from an adventure/fantasy, but it is just one of the flights of intellectual inquire that blossom here and there in this book like wildflowers in a meadow.

"Coursen's mind is never still, nor is it content with merely satisfying the reader's expectations. Instead, he challenges them. Where else, for example, will you find a thumbnail history of Christianity while you are also learning about crows that spy for the enemy or a great black hound whose bite lasts a lifetime?

"You know from the start that virtue, love and truth will triumph -- that's how these fables are constructed -- so it is the journey and the struggles along the way that sustain your interest as a reader. You make an agreement with these kinds of books: You give yourself to the writer and let him take you where he will. Coursen is a splendid guide, and there is always just enough uncertainty to maintain interest. After all, as our hero tells us, "The battle between good and evil is always an ebbing and flowing. It is never really won. ..." --John N. Cole, Lewiston Sun-Journal

John N. Cole is an award-winning Brunswick-based writer. He is author of 17 books and his articles have appeared in numerous national publications.

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Return to Archerland, ISBN 0-918606-14-4, $16.95

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