Jones, Terry

About the Author:

Terry Jones read English at Oxford University and maintained a lifelong passion for Medieval history and literature.  Historian, writer, actor and director, Jones is best known as part of the comedy genius of Monty Python.



2 out of 5

(1 book)

The Saga Of Erik The Viking

Erik, a Viking warrior, gathers a courageous crew of his peers and sets sail aboard the Golden Dragon on a quest to find the land where the sun goes at night.  On their quest they encounter dragons, mermaids, enchanters, magic swords and more.

I grew up loving Terry Jones' work and some of his films are, to my mind, among the best and most British fantasy movies ever produced; 'The Holy Grail' is perhaps the most famous, but don't forget that he also wrote the iconic 'Labyrinth'.  A lesser-known film he made. but one which I have always loved, was 'Erik the Viking' (starring a very young Tim Robbins, no less), so I was surprised and pleased when I discovered that it was based on a children's book written by Jones several years earlier.

Unfortunately this book turned out to be a great disappointment for me.  What I had loved about the movie was the way it blended Norse mythology, a life-long interest of mine, with Jones' wry and ironic sense of humour.  There is absolutely no sign of that humour here and Jones has written this book in a very serious tone deliberately intended to emulate the way these sort of myths were originally put to paper centuries ago.  On top of this, is the fact that the storytelling has been kept deliberately uncomplex to make it accessible to children, whilst also embracing the odd leaps of logic that children's stories so often include; both of which rob it of adult appeal.  It reminded me very much of a cross between Apollonius of Rhodes' 'The Voyage of Argo', written millennia ago, and Rosemary Sutcliff's 'Beowulf: Dragonslayer', written to make the ancient tale available to modern children.

I wanted this book to be a mixture of Jones' wit and the swashbuckling Norse sagas, but unfortunately that's not what it turned out to be.  I guess I'll just have to find the movie on DVD instead for that.

2 out of 5


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