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Frederic S. Durbin

A native of rural central Illinois, Frederic S. Durbin was writing before he could read (though that period of his work is largely misunderstood). In school, he loved English, acting, singing, and band; in college, he devoured mythology and English literature and majored in classical languages. He spent twenty-two years in Japan teaching ESL and writing, mostly at Niigata University. Recently returned to the U.S., he is a writing coach and continues to spin tales of fantasy for children and adults. If he could create his ideal writing space, it would be a well-lighted desk in a vast cavern chamber or in the depths of a forest, beside a waterfall. Learn more at Frederic S. Durbin’s website.


The Star Shard: A winning children’s fantasy

The Star Shard by Frederic S. Durbin

The Star Shard, by Frederic S. Durbin, is a winning children’s fantasy with an intriguing setting, albeit a bit implausible. The main character, Cymbril, is a young orphan girl-slave who lives on the Thunder Rake, a mind-bogglingly massive wagon that claws its way on seven-story wheels through the countryside to trade with the world's cities, towns, and villages. It is basically a market town on wheels that goes where the customers are. Cymbril's job is to sing to attract and keep the crowds that will fill the market's coffers, much to the delight of her owner, Rombol. The book's precipitating event is when Rombol purchases another slave, this one a young Fey boy named Loric. Cymbril finds herself unaccountably intrigued by Loric and the two, to no surprise, eventually plot an escape attempt. Along the way, Cymbril learns more not only about Loric, the Fey, and ma... Read More

A Green and Ancient Light: Beautifully written, gently melancholy

A Green and Ancient Light by Frederic S. Durbin

A war is raging, and a young boy is sent to spend the summer with his grandmother in her small country village. His life changes forever when she decides to rescue a downed enemy pilot and nurse him back to health. While helping her tend to the injured man, the boy also meets Mr. Girandole, a faun, who was once his grandmother’s love and is still her dear friend.

She knows just the place to conceal the pilot while he convalesces: a crooked little tower in an overgrown sculpture garden in the woods. Throughout the summer, the boy explores the garden, which was built long ago by an eccentric Duke who lost his beloved wife. The garden is reputed to contain a riddle that, if answered, will open a door to Faery.

A Green and Ancient Light (2016) is a beautifully written, gently melancholy tale. The pace is perhaps too slow at the start, with a lot... Read More