Tuesday, December 11, 2007

David Clement-Davies

by Steven Williams

David Clement-Davies black and white photographClement-Davies is a British writer particularly known for his fantasy adventure novels. The critically best received of his novels are intended for young adult readers though there has been some crossover interest similar to what has been seen with the Harry Potter novels. Clement-Davies was born in London in 1964 though he spent his childhood in Wales. It was in Wales that he first became fascinated with wild nature and this interest remained with him, heavily influencing his approach to fiction. In college he studied the Italian Renaissance as well as Russian literature and society. After college he pursued interests in both acting and writing first studying drama and even working in the theater before going on to work as a freelance travel journalist which provided him with a variety of adventurous experiences in exotic parts of the world. Clement-Davies first book, Fire Bringer, was published in 1999 and received critical acclaim as well as earning him a devoted readership. His novels are noted for his use of religious, mythological and folktale references. They are also richly peopled by interesting and diverse characters and are resolved with satisfying final confrontations between good and evil. Clement Davies has publicly remarked on how influential his favorite books as a child were in shaping his approach to writing novels: The Jungle Book, Watership Down, The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and The Wind in the Willows. He currently splits his time between his mountain home in the Andalusia region of Spain and a residence in London.

Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies front coverFire Bringer (1999)
A fantasy novel that is set among the society of the red deer of ancient Scotland. The main character, Rannoch, is a deer who is born the same night his father has been murdered by evil forces within the herd and his birth is marked by an ancient prophecy tied to the unusual mark of an oak leaf on his forehead. Within the year, Rannoch is forced to flee from the herd accompanied by his foster mother and a small group of deer, pursued by the same forces that murdered his father. This puts him squarely on the path of a journey that actually prepares him to fulfill his destiny. As he matures and uncovers answers to his questions regarding the prophecy, he is haunted both by the burden the prophecy places on him as the savior of the deer and his own strange powers, one of which is the ability to talk with other animals. Through it all, Rannoch finds himself overcoming various trials that prepare him for the part he must play. In the end, he returns to the herd and confronts the evil forces that drove him out in the first place, and in doing so, brings a rebirth of freedom to the red deer society.

The Sight by David Clement Davies front cover
The Sight (2001)
This novel is set in the world of a Transylvanian wolf clan. The society of the wolves has been overturned through the ambitions of a she-wolf determined to fulfill a ancient legend foretelling one wolf gaining supreme power over all the wolves. During this period of turmoil, a white wolf pup is born with The Sight, the ability to see the world through the minds of others as well as an ability to foresee the future. This young wolf, named Larka, sets out with her brother and the rest of her immediate family in a quest to uncover the truth about the prophecy that is disrupting the clan's world. The cryptic nature of the prophecy's meaning and the deaths of some of her family leads her to set out by herself to find a guide or teacher who can help her master The Sight. In the process of doing so, she prepares for her eventual confrontation of the evil she-wolf and the restoration of the world of the wolves.

The Alchemists of Barbal by David Clement-Davies front cover
The Alchemists of Barbal (May, 2005)
This is Clement-Davies' first novel aimed squarely at adult readers. It follows the trend of his first two books and is an epic fantasy adventure. The story is set in a slightly altered ancient Middle East steeped in Arabian learning and alchemical traditions. Barbal is a high walled city in which the Lord Alchemist is supreme ruler. He is driven by the pursuit of power and in the process has become a tyrannical and treacherous ruler. His only significant opposition within the city is another great alchemist who he is holding as a captive hostage. A young boy under the guidance of a charismatic mentor sets off for this city. He has little more than his own confidence going for him. Except for a small, pure white pebble he carries as a talisman in his pocket. Unknown to him, this pebble is a magically powerful turnstone. In the end, with the aid of the powers of the Turnstone, the young boy is able to overturn the evil Lord Alchemist's power, destroying the evil man's masterwork, a time machine that is powered by human souls.

The Telling Pool by David Clement-Davies front cover
The Telling Pool (October, 2005)
Clement-Davies returned to his young adult readership with his third novel, set against a backdrop of Richard the Lionheart and the Third Crusade. The background of the story is a blend of Arthurian legend and old pagan beliefs and follows the adventures of a young man, Rhodri, and his crusader father. He is left in charge of his father's falcons when his father sets out to serve a Norman on the crusade. The boy has found a mentor in a Merlin-like blacksmith who teaches him how to consult a magical deep pool in the forest, The Telling Pool. Before his father can return home, an evil sorceress captures the man's heart. Rhodri sets out on a difficult journey to free his father, as well as save his king and country from the forces of evil. In the process his courage is put to the test. He is aided in his adventures by the powers of the Telling Pool, his rock falcon, a young woman, and an infamous sword.

Fell by David Clement-Davies front cover

Fell (2007)
This fourth novel is a sequel to Clement-Davies' The Sight. This story is set among the Transylvanian forests and is about Fell, the black wolf who betrayed his family in 'The Sight'. Fell wonders alone in the forests, trapped by the pain he feels over his sister Larka's death. He has rejected the gift of being able to see into the minds of others, the Sight, that he shared with his now dead sibling. The friendship of an eagle allows him to heal and he eventually accepts his destiny: to return a lost human girl to her family among the humans. He is guided by a vision that shows him how helping the girl will heal rifts in both the human and the wolf worlds. As he travels with the girl, Fell discovers that the two of them also share a power that will permanently change the relationship between the humans and the animals.

wolves color photograph

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Creative Commons License
David Clement-Davies, talking animals and pagan folklore by Steven Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting Steven Williams through Bookmarc's BookmarcsOnline.

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