Monday, October 20, 2008

Vince Ford Breaks New Ground
The Chronicles of Stone - a dazzling Trilogy

In the year 2000, a young writer by the name of Vince Ford burst onto the NZ children’s literature scene with his first novel, 2MUCH4U (the manuscript of which had won the Tom Fitzgibbon Award in 1998 for a previously unpublished writer), which went on to win the 200 NZ Post Junior Fiction Award and the Best First Book Award. The book was followed by two sequels (SOMUCH2DO and POSSUMS2U, also published by Scholastic) and four more children’s novels.

Male children’s book authors under the age of 40 are almost an endangered species in this country and Vince’s characters and dialogue ring true and have a particular appeal to boys. Take Boyznbikes (Scholastic 2006) for example. The entire first chapter is made up of only four lines: Guys are different. Like Dad and Baz and Skid. They ride motorbikes. They drink beer. They pee standing up. When you’re young you mostly hang out with women. They pee sitting down.

Vince’s authentic Kiwi voice and sense of humour quickly became popular with 9-13 year olds. He wrote about real kids, just like them, who weren’t perfect little angels but who sometimes did some stupid things and got into trouble for it. Nothing too serious, of course. Apart from accidentally setting a car on fire …

2008, however, heralds the beginning of a new style of writing for this author.
As Vincent Ford (his grown-up name), he has written a fabulous trilogy set in prehistoric times, The Chronicles of Stone (Scholastic). In 1980 Jean Auel stunned the adult reading world with her Clan of the Cave Bear which went on to enchant people around the world and sell millions of copies. It will not surprise me at all if Vincent Ford with his Chronicles of Stone trilogy written for the 13+ to young adult reader has the same sort of international impact.

Book 1, Scorched Bone, was released in June to critical acclaim:

“…Ford has created a complex believable society with its own technology, history, myths and religion. The carefully realised landscapes, the wide range of techniques for preparing food, the trapping and hunting methods, and the well-realised spiritual beliefs are all smoothly incorporated into a fast-moving, utterly convincing narrative. Scorched Bone is an exciting invitation to enter an alien but familiar world where men and women regularly faced the ultimate challenge of survival. The only reservation I have about Scorched Bone is that it’s the first volume of a trilogy. I want to read those other two adventures NOW.” —Trevor Agnew

And just this month, book 2 has come out – Set in Stone – and it’s the compelling, fast-paced, wonderfully told epic journey of Trei and his twin sister Souk as they travel vast distances north seeking desperately needed secrets to save their tribe. Set in Stone is a simply stunning piece of writing, I couldn’t put it down and will now wait impatiently for the third title in the series, Tribal Ash, due out in March 2009.

I foresee a big, promising international future for the Chronicles of Stone trilogy and for Vincent Ford as a writer for teenagers and beyond. Be sure to bring it before any teenage readers you know, they will not be disappointed.

No comments: