The Tides of Avarice

The Tides of Avarice

A Sagaria Legend

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
464 Pages
Reviewed on 06/19/2012
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

John Dahlgren is a Psychologist and a member of the Swiss Psychologist Federation (FSP). He has been working as a marketing director at a pharmaceutical company in Switzerland since 1998.

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, he grew up close to the vast and untamed landscape of Scandinavia and became influenced at an early age by the Nordic sagas, fairytales and mythologies. This environment fired his imagination and inspired him, to later become a fiction/fantasy writer. He has studied creative and fiction writing at Oxford University where he earned high praise for his work. Dahlgren is mostly known for his Sagaria fantasy series.

Besides his regular work, he is now engaged in several book projects, for both younger readers and adults. He’s also a script writer and composer.

Dahlgren lives in Neuchâtel, Switzerland with his wife and two children.

Book Review

Reviewed by Stephanie Dagg for Readers' Favorite

"Tides of Avarice" by John Dahlgren is a quirky, swashbuckling, original combination of pirates, treasure maps and lemmings. Sylvester Lemmington is our hero: a timid, serious lemming who works as a translator for the head archivist at the library. The love interest is Viola, a pretty, feisty lemmingess who merrily leads Sylvester into trouble, along with his treasure map. Add a missing father, Jasper, who took part in the last great lemming Exodus, from which mysteriously none returned many years ago, a whole host more slightly off-the-wall characters, plus of course an original plot, and you have a very entertaining, enjoyable book in your hands. There is plenty of skulduggery going on, and not just from the pirates. The lemmings and other animals share all our human characteristics, including the less wholesome ones so that there is a layer of social commentary buried in the humour.

I read this with my ten year old - neither of us quite in the intended YA audience - but it is hard to say which of us enjoyed it more. I could pick up some of the humorous subtleties of the writing that he missed but he could clearly imagine every single scene going on in his own head. We were both hooked. Dahlgren, a Scandinavian by birth, has an incredible mastery of language and is a very, very clever, creative writer. The story twists and turns, with enough of the extreme and ridiculous to keep youngsters engrossed and adults chuckling. It is refreshing and ingenious – it’s brilliant!

Rita V.

"The Tides of Avarice" is a mysteriously enthralling fantasy novel written by John Dahlgren. Sylvester Lemmington is a librarian who lives in the very safe community called Foxgrove. However, this community is made up of lemmings instead of humans. Sylvester craves for adventure and mystery in his life and sets out with his girlfriend, Viola Pickleberry, in search of villainous pirates and a grand treasure. They also hope to find Sylvester’s missing father who disappeared some years before in a supposed accident. Along their splendid journey, the two encounter the crazy pirate, Captain Rustbane, as well as Madame Zahnia, the voodoo priestess, on the seas to Sagaria. They must overcome great dangers, travel the fierce sea, and face evil competitors along their way. Will they find their coveted treasure or Sylvester’s father? You’ll have to read it to find out more!

John Dahlgren must have an absolutely beautiful imagination to create such a unique fantasy masterpiece on paper! The chapters flow very smoothly and the reader can comprehend the wording easily. The plot is solid and brilliantly worked throughout. The cover of the book is captivating and colorful and catches the reader’s eye quickly. It is easy to pick up and difficult to put down. The characters in this novel are well-developed and it is delightful to watch them grow and develop. Who wouldn’t enjoy such phenomenal pirate satire and witty quarreling? With its exciting, fast-paced action and well-written dialogue between its characters, this wonderful novel will not disappoint you. The arrays of animals from beavers and foxes to ocelots take on a life of their own and appear as unique three dimensional characters. I found this novel to be thoroughly entertaining and outstanding! I can also easily imagine Dahlgren’s work being made into a major motion picture or a miniseries event. Well done John Dahlgren. This novel is astonishingly perfect for young adult readers as well as older adult readers. I anticipate GREAT things coming from this novelist and cannot wait for Dahlgren’s next novel in the series to come out.

Alice D.

Sylvester Lemmington, Junior Archivist and Translator of Ancient Tongue, and obviously a lemming, works for the old and very wise lemming, Celadon. Sylvester's childhood friend and now his love is fellow lemming Viola. She likes to compete, to race, and Sylvester likes to read but they like each other a lot. One night while they are looking out over the Great Wet Without End, a wounded ferret crawls up out of the water. Sylvester and Viola take him to the town doctor where he dies. But before he dies, Keelhaul Levanter, as the ferret is known, tells Sylvester not to trust anyone. But whom should Sylvester meet next but the charming grey fox who calls himself Robin Fourfeathers? Actually the fox is the notorious pirate Capt'n Terrigan Rustbane who is also called Deathflash, Doomslayer and Warhammer. Capt'n Rustbane commands the pirate ship Shadeblaze and has a crew of racoons, rats, bobcats, weasels and skunks who help him search after the Zindars' treasure. Will Sylvester, V! iola, and her mother Mrs. Pickleberry survive the onslaught of these deadly cutthroats and find this long-hidden treasure?

"Tides of Avarice" is a well-written and well-edited animal fantasy that readers of all ages will enjoy. Sylvester, Viola, Capt'n Rustbane, Mrs. Pickleberry and her bat are delightful creations as are the colorful Cheesebang, Bellowguts, Gasbag, Bladderbulge the ship's cook, Pimplebrains the beaver and the entire cast of mostly animal characters. The plot follows the traditional travels afar and then back home for which science fiction novels are noted. Madame Zahnia the mouse mystic tells Sylvester on page 280 that "the path is seldom the one you'd like it to be" when talking of the future and his quest for the Zindars' treasure. However, readers would do well to follow the path that leads them to read this first-rate animal fantasy.

Jean Brickell

Sylvester and Viola get caught up in a dilemma, taken aboard a pirate ship and are under threats of all sorts of cruel and deadly happenings if they don't reveal the source of the hidden treasure but they know if they do that, that will be the end of them. Sylvester holds the third part of a map that will reveal the lost treasure chest, or at least that is what Captain Adamite thinks and when he is murdered, Captain Rustbane renews the threats. (Who do you think killed Captain Adamite?) While on shore at a very revolting, dirty and just plain nasty pub, The Monkey's Curse, Sylvester and Viola meet and are rescued from certain death by a mouse named Rasco who proved to be a wonderful and helpful friend. This book, "A Tide of Averace", if full of adventure, frightful happenings and death deifying murder attempts, and should be of great interest to the reader.

I hate to have to tell the "young adults" that this is a great book for adults too, even "older adults". "The Tides of Avarice" is quite a tail (oh, I meant to say 'tale'). I said, tail, because almost all the characters had tails as they were animals, lemmings, fox, beaver ocelot, and so on. Our hero, Sylvester, and heroine, Viola, are lemmings and most of the others are down and dirty, filthy murdering pirates. So it makes quite an interesting and fascinating story with lots of action and it is rather humorous also. A really, really good read!

Terri Tumlin

Sylvester Lemmington as a slightly timid Junior Archivist and Translator of Ancient Tongues is an unlikely hero in any adventure — all the more so being a lemming in the town of Foxglove where periodically large numbers of citizens leave on The Great Exodus at the Mighty Enormous Cliff. But that doesn’t stop him when his quiet bookish life got disrupted upon receiving a portion of a map thrust upon him by a dying ferret. Pirates arrive hunting the map and the first thing Sylvester knows is that he is aboard the pirate ship Shadeblaze with his secret love, Viola Pickleberry, and her acid-tongued mother. The three lemmings embark, however unwillingly, on a series of high risk adventures as Rustbane, the pirate captain, tries to locate the treasure to be found from the map and they try to stay alive. Along the way they encounter such marvelous characters as Madame Zahnia, a voodoo priestess mouse, and a treacherous ocelot named Jeopord.

"The Tides of Avarice" by John Dahlgren is a marvelous book that is an adventure, a romance, a fantasy and an all-around good read. Parts are laugh-out-loud funny. The plot is complex and satisfying and the language smooth and readable, even when the characters are using dialects. Particularly interesting and enjoyable is the way Mr. Dahlgren has been able to blend the animal attributes with human psychology into a panorama of interesting characters. "The Tides of Avarice" may be listed as a young adult volume, but adults of any age will find it fascinating. I highly recommend it.