December 29th, 2006


It's Happening Again!

Now that Christopher Paolini's voice has changed and Kaavya Viswanathan has gone back to copying term papers off the internet, the publishing industry is at a loss for child phenom authors. Who will be their next literary wunderkind?

Ladies and gentleman, meet Drew C. Bowling.

Fantasy author Drew C. Bowling, who is currently a college sophomore, told SCI FI Wire that he began writing his first novel, The Tower of Shadows, during his senior year of high school. "Halfway through my freshman year of college, I mailed what I had written—110 manuscript pages, roughly the first third of the novel—to Random House," Bowling said in an interview. "They accepted it for publication and signed me up to write two sequels. Since then I've tried to balance my career as an author with the demands of college life."

The Tower of Shadows revolves around one man's quest for revenge, Bowling said. "When he was a young boy, Cade Starcross watched from a burning house as his parents were slaughtered by members of the Coven, a congregation of twisted humans who, through wickedness, have been subjugated and warped into monsters by fallen angels," he said. "Cade quests for the power to summon the greatest of these fallen angels—a demon named Apollyon—so he can destroy it."

In order for Cade to raise the demon, he needs to obtain a magical dagger and use it to spill his brother's blood, Bowling said. "[That] would trigger a dark inversion and open the doors to hell," he said. "Cade's brother, Corin, was rescued from the fate that claimed his parents by a mercenary—named Wren Tident—and the wizard Dale. Against the backdrop of a world rapidly descending into madness, Wren, his courageous daughter Kayla and Dale's amateurish apprentice Adriel join with Corin Starcross to deal with assassins, sorcerers, bandits, pirates and members of the Coven as they strive to stop Cade from unleashing apocalyptic ruin upon the earth."

Bowling said that the novel was partially inspired by a family vacation to Venice, Italy.

Boy, I've had some lousy family vacations in my time, but I can't remember ever joining with a band of assassins, sorcerers, bandits, pirates and, uh, Coven members to stop alexkaufmann from opening the doors to hell. That was usually my dad's job.

So, how often does Random House buy a teenager's unsolicited novel submission -- as a partial, no less -- featuring the kind of wildly overstuffed plot found in every high schooler's fantasy practice novel? My guess is roughly, oh...never.

I may still be on Paolini alert, but something's really fishy about this story.

In the meantime, I leave you with these words of wisdom from Bowling himself:

"Some of my characters also share the wistful melancholy I experience when contemplating the heart-rending and fleeting beauty of the world, or pondering unfulfilled dreams."

Who talks like that? Nineteen-year-old fantasy writers, that's who!