Friday, May 3, 2019

Review: The Sun Singer (Mountain Journeys Book 1) by Malcolm R Campbell

Genre: Fantasy


As a boy, Robert Adams is hit with the gift of prophesy. It’s all a bit of a lark, until he foresees the death of a school friend, which comes to pass the very next day. After that he buries his gift down deep – but he knows that it is only a matter of time before he will have to engage with it again. When he is fifteen he goes on a transformational trip to the mountains of Montana to honour a promise made to his grandfather (a soothsayer and Sun Singer himself). In the mountains Robert finds doors into the parallel world of Pyrrha. Suddenly it is clear what his gift is for. Now it is time to use it.


Malcolm R Campbell is an author of fantasy (The Sun SingerSarabandeAt Sea, and Mountain Song) and magical realism (Conjure Woman’s CatEulalie and WasherwomanLena, Florida Folk Magic Stories and, most recently, the short story collection Widely Scattered Ghosts).

Back in the day he was (sequentially) an insurance company’s training materials designer, a police management school’s course materials developer, a mental health department unit manager, a technical writer, a grant writer, a corporate communications director, a railway museum’s volunteer collections manager, and a college journalism instructor. Most germane to this review is that in his youth he did a stint as a bellman at Glacier Park, Montana. He grew up in the Florida Panhandle, and now lives on a north Georgia farm that could use some sheep.


This book has been reviewed on Big Al and Pals before. But I just happen to have finished reading it this week and asked Big Al if he’d like another opinion of it. He said yes, so here is a fresh review of it.

This is one of Campbell’s earlier books (first published 2010) and already his gifts for drawing warm characters and laying out a story so it flows towards and immerses the reader are well developed.

It is a satisfyingly complex tale. When the book opens, Robert Adams has denied his gift of prophesy. More about that gift, and the reasons he has buried it, come out in flashback. He and his family go on a trip to those Montana mountains that made such an impression on Campbell (see above). Here Robert slips out of his own reality into Pyrrha, where a guerilla band is struggling against a powerful evil – standard fantasy fare. There is a great deal of hiking through the same-but-different mountains involved. The mountain country is well described and becomes a character in its own right.

Robert’s world and Pyrrha bleed into each other in places. A few people are able to cross from one side to the other: Robert is one. There are others, some of them malicious. Robert becomes close to members of the guerilla band and tries to help them, at the same time finding out more about the gift he tried to disown. In the course of his physical and spiritual journey, the teenage boy grows up and becomes the Sun Singer.

There is a sequel to this book, Sarabande (2015) and also a prequel Mountain Song (2017).

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: Judi Moore

Approximate word count: 120-135,000 words

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