Eludoran: The Legend of Lorelei in a Geste of Grave Misconceptions, by Jonathan Goh – Book Review By Fred Patten
by Pup Matthias
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Eludoran: The Legend of Lorelei in a Geste of Grave Misconceptions, by Jonathan Goh. Illustrated, map, by Anya Ewing.
Singapore, Partridge Publishing, December 2014, hardcover $48.38 (877 pages); Bloomington, IN, Xlibris, February 2015, trade paperback $32.25 (868 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $3.99.
(As far as I can tell from the fine print, Eludoran was published in hardcover by Partridge Publishing in Singapore in December 2014, then in an almost but not quite identical trade paperback edition by Xlibris, which is headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana but has offices all around the world. Its edition of Eludoran comes from Xlibris’ office in Gordon, NSW, a suburb of Sydney. Does anyone besides me care about this trivia?)
Eludoran is furry epic poetry in alliterative verse, inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien. It begins with a quote from Tolkien’s The Lay of Leithian, and is “In memory of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien”. It is presented in three Acts; the first two of 16 Cants (cantos) each, and the third of 12 Cants. Each Act opens with a detailed map or a full-page illustration.
It begins with Act 1: Cub:
“Once long ago there was a maid
completely reckless; unafraid
to mock the Thousand and the creed
that every yearling has to heed,
forsaking dens to wander far
away from kindred – sons of Kar –
those exiles cast from homeland heath
who roam the tundra; set adrift
by unforgiving tides of war…” (p. 5)
That is from the first page of the 1st Cant. It goes on for either 874 or 865 pages, depending on whether you read the hardcover or trade paperback edition. There is a three-page Glossary of Names (Pronunciation) at the end, for such names as Ailinel, Bregothir, Faolan, and others.
Eludoran is the epic saga of “Lorelei, the rebel vixen princess of Eludoran”; the maid met in the opening lines. She is a tomboy, tired of being eclipsed by her noble and heroic elder brother Llane. She goes on a quest from their Northern hidden kingdom of Eludoran to fight the conquering bears of Urskâldarrí, King Bloodfang, and regain the foxes’ fabled realm of Elu-Vandor from which they were driven long ago. Unfortunately for Lorelei, Llane really is a lot smarter and more competent than she is. This is her “coming of age” story, in which she learns a lot of realities the hard way. When she is missed, Malachi her cousin (who is hopelessly in love with her) goes looking for her. Complicating the story is Penn, Pendaryann the weasel, son of Morwenna, “a jealous sorceress driven mad by revenge.” Is Penn their friend, or will he betray them?
Here is Lorelei, shown also on the cover by Anya Rose Ewing:
“So like the Queen in looks and frame
tis’ said Anvira lived again
behind her daughter’s piercing eyes –
unusual shade of summer skies;
whose hidden properties enfold.
Her fur recalling silver cold,
emerging radiant lustre fair
distinct on every silken hair
upon her coat; a comely sight
to see the hues approaching white
upon her belly, chest, and throat.
Far darker is the colour-coat
characterizing slender back:
Lorelei’s tail-tip raven black.” (p. 35)
They aren’t all foxes, bears, and weasels. Other characters include Tabaqui, a jackal (is that a Kipling reference?); Sheriden, a hound; Lanorei, a wolf; and Rixaldin the Mouseketeer. The lengthy poem offers friendship, trust, betrayal, agony, and redemption. Its furry nature is constantly emphasized, by the species of its cast, by referring to characters as Alphas or Omegas, and by such phrases as “Fur and Freedom” (on banners), “Now get your silly tails inside”, and:
“Hence for his sweet beloved’s sake
do paws persuade a lute to wake;
awaiting strings with care he plucked
with limber claws. Each chorus struck” (p. 434)
The About the Author says that Jonathan Goh is a pseudonym. For a known furry fan? A news article/press release says that this is the longest fantasy rhyming poem ever written in Singapore. Almost certainly in furry literature, too. Goh “is looking to make his novel ‘Eludoran’ into both a film and graphic novel.” I assume that those would not be in rhyming couplets.
This review will probably not tell you as much as the samples of it quoted. If you like them, read the entire book. Eludoran is one of those books that will almost certainly sell in only the Kindle edition, unless you need a really big doorstopper or an impressive, attractive book for your bookshelf.