It’s been a while since I posted on here but the if there is one great outcome to the Covid-19 lockdown it’s all this extra reading time! As usual, my reading has been eclectic to say the least but my first choice for this blog series comes from the Irish author Eoin (pronounced Owen) Colfer who is perhaps best known for his YA fantasy series about the boy genius Artemis Fowl.  I am always hesitant when Young Adult writers decide to step up to write their ‘adult’ book because the quality and skills do not always step up with them. Having said that, there have in recent years been a good few who have managed it well. J.K. Rowling, Patrick Ness, Bridget Collins (I reviewed The Binding ) are some of my favourites. To that list I now add Eoin Colfer’s Adult Fantasy story High Fire.

From the internationally bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series: Eoin Colfer’s first adult fantasy novel is a hilarious, high-octane adventure about a vodka-drinking, Flashdance-loving dragon who’s been hiding out from the world – and potential torch-carrying mobs – in a Louisiana bayou . . . until his peaceful world’s turned upside down by a well-intentioned but wild Cajun tearaway and the crooked (and heavily armed) law officer who wants him dead.

Squib Moreau may be swamp-wild, but his intentions are (generally) good: he really wants to be a supportive son to his hard-working momma Elodie. But sometimes life gets in the way – like when Fake Daddy walked out on them leaving a ton of debt, or when crooked Constable Regence Hooke got to thinking pretty Elodie Moreau was just the gal for him . . .

An apprenticeship with the local moonshine runner, servicing the bayou, looks like the only way to pay off the family debts and maybe get Squib and his momma a place in town, far from Constable Hooke’s unwanted courtship and Fake Daddy’s reputation.

Unfortunately for Squib, Hooke has his own eye on that very same stretch of bayou – and neither of them have taken into account the fire-breathing dragon hiding out in the Louisiana swamp . . .

For Squib Moreau, Regence Hooke and Vern, aka Lord Highfire of Highfire Eyrie, life is never going to be the same again.

Traditionally – at least in my experience, fictional dragons fall into one of three categories: Either they are hugely destructive as in The Hobbit’s Smaug or as in Game of Thrones. Or, the marvelous benign characters of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels.The third option are the cute and playful types such as Pete’s Dragon. Colfers Vern is however none of these. The curmudgeonly old guy is a character so well crafted that he is a joy to read and yes the book had me laughing out loud in places. The Louisiana swamps are a gift of a setting and whilst the other humans of the tale seem at times too easily accepting of a dragon in their back yard, it is a necessary plot lubricant. I loved the story, the setting and the characters and heartily recommend it as a great read.

Eoin Colfer was born in Wexford on the South-East coast of Ireland in 1965, where he and his four brothers were brought up by his father (an elementary school teacher, historian and artist of note) and mother (a drama teacher). He first developed an interest in writing in primary (elementary) school with gripping Viking stories inspired by history he was learning in school at the time!

After leaving school he got his degree from Dublin university and qualified as a primary school teacher, returning to work in Wexford. He married in 1991 and he and his wife spent about 4 years between 1992 and 1996 working in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Italy. His first book, Benny and Omar, was published in 1998, based on his experiences in Tunisia; it has since been translated into many languages. A sequel followed in 1999, followed by some other books (see below). Then in 2001 the first Artemis Fowl book was published and he was able to resign from teaching and concentrate fully on writing.

He says, “I will keep writing until people stop reading or I run out of ideas. Hopefully neither of these will happen anytime soon. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.