My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What is Endymion Spring? A very special, antique book. Who is Endymion Spring? A mute orphan boy who, in 15th century Germany, was taken under the wing of Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press. The orphan who risked his life to save the book for posterity. Who is Blake Winter? An unhappy American boy living in 21st century Oxford, England, with his scholarly mother. Blake is about to discover the book, secreted on a shelf in the Bodleian Library. And, six centuries apart, it will bring extraordinary excitement, adventure, and danger to each of their lives.
This is a novel for children/young adults, so naturally, the book of the title holds incredible powers, for good and for evil. There are elements of fantasy – a magical dragon, a book with a mind of its own, the mysterious nooks and crannies of Oxford itself – and of reality – Blake is worried that his parents are divorcing, and Endymion about where his next meal is coming from. Both boys are unsure about how to deal with the adults around them. The more compelling tale is the back story, in which the author brings the sights, sounds, smells, and perils of medieval Europe to vivid life. But Blake’s story is gripping enough, and it’s fun to follow him as he negotiates Oxford’s eerier settings.
If you enjoy books about books, well grounded in history, Endymion Spring is a book for you, whatever your age. A most promising debut for Matthew Skelton.