Book Review | The Cock of the South by Craig Boyack

cots3


With this book, author CS Boyack has proven two things;

  1. He is a brilliant story-teller (I already knew this, having previously read ‘Panama’).
  2. That writers can excel in more than just one genre.

By his own admission, ‘The Cock of the South’ is Boyack’s first foray into fantasy. Never one to be daunted, he has thrown himself wholeheartedly into the challenge and come up trumps with a whole new spin on what we accept as the norm for this genre.

This is not a story about good against evil, although such conflict does occur; it’s not about big battle scenes, although there are some (and exciting and detailed, they are too!); it’s not about weird and wonderful mythical creatures, although there are plenty; it’s not about doomed and unrequited love triangles, although there are romances; and it’s not about handsome musclebound heroes, although heroes do show up, albeit in the most unlikely packages.

Set in the Roman-Greco era, even this has a twist. Boyack is a master at turning everything on its head with that infamous ‘but what if’ question. Cobby is a southern dwarf brought up by humans to be totally unaware of his true heritage, although it is evident to everyone else. When disaster strikes, he sets out on a journey to find the truth. His fair-mindedness, ingenuity and cunning soon have peoples of all races flocking to him as their leader, leading him to a conclusion he could never have anticipated.

And here we come to the crux of the story. Although set in a historical context among mythical peoples, this story is a very current and human one; it is about equality, acceptance, belonging, self-reliance, independence, teamwork and hard graft. Without moralising, Cobby takes a group of displaced peoples of different races full of enmity and animosity towards each other, and melds them into one society which works together to achieve a common goal, namely, to find a safe place they can call home.

In doing so, Boyack shows he has done his homework. The dwarves have the secret of ‘black sand’… of course! So that is how they were able to carve out such wondrous underground cities. They also know how to build forges, make tools and weapons, brew alcohol, make cheese, blow glass… their list of skills is endless, and the author gives us just enough of an insight into these real ancient technologies to make it interesting, but not overwhelming.

All this is blended seamlessly with a plethora of mythological references to keep the fantasy fans happy. But the greatest strength in this story is the growth of Cobby himself, from someone much maligned and of little consequence in the world he grew up in, to respected and beloved leader, strategist, warrior, lover and king of the new world he has created.

If you are currently mourning the end of a certain movie about an adventurous band of dwarven misfits, and are wondering “What next?”, I advise you to look no further; ‘The Cock of the South’ is definitely the book for you.


You can find Craig on his blog, Entertaining Stories. You can check out ‘The Cock of the South’ and all his books on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

10 Comments on “Book Review | The Cock of the South by Craig Boyack

  1. Pingback: Researching a Fantasy Story, and How Mythology Helps by Guest Author Craig Boyack | aliisaacstoryteller

  2. Pingback: Time for an assessment | Entertaining Stories

    • Ah a new year’s resolution! And a very good one it is too! Good luck with it… I’ll be checking up on you lol! Happy New Year to you!

      Like

Please feel free to join in the conversation...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s