Daniel O’Thunder – Book Review

April 15, 2012

Book Reviews, Breaking News

Literary genius is born from extensive research and dedication, something that Langley author, screenwriter, and LFAS parent, Ian Weir, knows much about.

It is easy to see the result of that hard work in Weir’s book, Daniel O’Thunder, a darkly entertaining tale of an evangelist fist-fighter, determined to fight to the death with the devil in eighteen-fifties London.

I received Daniel O’Thunder after the author, Ian Weir, visited our writing class at LFAS. He is a writer full of advice and dedicated to his work, experienced in screenplays, winning Leo Awards, Gemini Awards, and a Writer’s Guild of Canada Award.

Daniel O’Thunder itself was a finalist for four awards, including the Canadian Author’s Award for Fiction and Amazon.ca’s First Novel Award.

I was enthralled by the description of the book, and also by the cover. A sharply Victorian lettering style, outfitted with a sketchily drawn head of the devil, the flames of burning London behind it.

Diving into Ian Weir’s dark and discordant London is reminiscent of Dickens, yet punctuated with purely original characters, taking readers into the underbelly of the poorest-of-poor backstreets in a city where they can see the devil slinking around polluted corners.

An interesting twist is that the story is told from the perspective of four primary characters, as well as smaller one-time parts. It is never actually told from Daniel O’Thunder’s point of view.

This spin is effective in showing the allure and heroism of a revered pugilist with a cult-like following.

The novel is plot driven, but includes involved psycho-analysis. A fellow book club enthusiast said that she enjoyed the imagery and character development. Another said that she loved the book from the first page because it transported her into that time in history – the stench, the gritty look of society in that time.

Though its story was rewarding and worth the psychological twists and turns, it is not escapist fiction. This book would do well for a reader who enjoys a blend of action and reflection, interspersed with comedic relief.

For writers, Daniel O’Thunder is an inspiring, multi-character narrative. For fans of theatre, the stimulating narrative displays Weir’s experience from his years of screenwriting shows like Dragon Boys, Flashpoint and Arctic Air. Every artist will appreciate Ian Weir’s mastery of story and language.

As it does contain explicit scenes and profanity, Weir’s book is appropriate for Grade Ten or higher. Nevertheless, it should be explored by any person loving a riveting psychological thriller with dynamic and original characters.

The eloquently told Daniel O’Thunder is both insane and incredibly plausible, adding realism to a story which takes you through dark streets as a shadow.

Elizibeth Ashton

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