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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Sword of Demelza by J.E. Rogers is a fantasy adventure that is geared towards preteen and young adult readers, but should have many adult fans as well. The author set her fantasy in Australia, and the heroes and villains in the tale are native Australian animals. Devon is a young fox who was orphaned at an early age and raised by Bede, a Bilby monk. When dragon lizards attack the monastery where they live and kill Bede, Devon swears that he will avenge the killing. On his travels, he meets Erik and Emma, two young Kowaris who are gathering the herbs and flowers needed to help their mother survive the venom of the brown snake that bit her. Devon continues on his quest, leaving the two Kowaris, who then meet Slade and Stokely, young Echidnas, whose village was also assaulted by the king's dragon lizards. They are following the lizards to try to rescue two young Puggles, baby Echidnas, who're being taken to the castle's dungeons. Erik and Emma must decide if they should help them rescue the young Puggles, which means a delay in getting the medicine back to their mother.
J.E. Rogers' The Sword of Demelza is high epic fantasy, complete with swords and sorcery and lots of adventure. It's also a great way to learn about the animals and their environments in Australia. The illustrations by Guy Atherfold and William Hulbert make Devon, Erik, and Emma, and the rest of the questers and villains come alive. While the author geared The Sword of Demelza toward a young adult and preteen audience, I found myself every bit as enthralled and entertained as I would be with a first-rate fantasy geared towards adult readers. I hope there'll be a sequel as the characters brought to life in The Sword of Demelza are well worth following in their future adventures. The Sword of Demelza is great fantasy, and I highly recommend it.