Anthony E. Southby grew up in the areas surrounding Johannesburg in South Africa. He completed school in the year 1991 and proceeded with a career in graphic art. He suffered with many unfortunate setbacks and at a later stage in his life he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
After many years of struggling to deal with his supposed fate, Anthony E. Southby managed to take control of his life and complete his first epic fantasy adventure novel called Green Planet.
In the first Green Planet his ability to create a bizarre story and make it quite believable with his vivid detail and well thought out plot will capture your attention just long enough for you to complete the book in one afternoon.
So how’s the sequel? There are three ways a sequel to such a richly imagined novel can go. Often it turns out that the author has used up all his or her good ideas on the first episode, and the sequel just recycles old material. Alternatively, the sequel may be as good as the opener. The third, and by far the rarest alternative is where the author not only equals but improves upon an impressive first effort. Happily, that is the case with Green Planet Under Fire. Anthony E. Southby has developed a greater confidence in his plotting and narrative structuring, and handles characters with a greater sense of assured ease. These honed skills allow for a more complex story, which is filled in with even more richly inventive, weird and vivid detail.
The sequel picks up where that story ended. Frank and Philip are back at school, Chimzen is back in his forest, and the wicked Mathias, in impotent monkey form, is under his supervision. But peace can never last long in this kind of world. With help from his equally evil brother Mathick, Mathias escapes to Floran in search of the magic Frego flower which can turn him back into a human. (Mathick is a new character, briefly mentioned in the first novel, a weird delight in tattoos who rides a flying barstool, and underneath his brutal appearance is ‘greedy, deceitful and a really big baby’.) In distress, Chimzen sends his Malco trio (three sentient spherical entities capable of teleportation)
The adventure that gets under way is a nice blend of familiar features (such as Mathias’s mission, which is a mirror-image of the situation that got the first novel going) and new invention, as a good sequel should be.
Although the plotting is more complicated than in the first novel, the principal selling point remains the author’s huge and vivid imagination, which fills in the structure with a wonderful, intoxicating intensity of detail and humour.
In conclusion, Anthony E. Southby has exceeded expectations, developing new strengths as a storyteller, and showing that he is writing with capacious reserves of imaginative power. The Green Planet setting shows every sign of developing a sustained series of adventures. I look forward to seeing the next instalment.
Green Planet Under Fire will be published on the 11th of April 2011
Green Planet Reviews from www.greenplanetfantasy.com
“A very witty and entertaining read. It keeps you hooked right down to the last page.” Amy Baird
“This is the first book of fiction that has captured my attention since school. It was a pure escape.” Max Savioli
“I can’t wait for the sequel to come out, it was a breakneck quest.” Eddie Das
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