May 14, 2012
-- In the world of Sagaria – a place not so different than ours, other than virtually all the animals can talk and have roughly equal status in society – there are adventures to be had…but generally not for lemmings. One night, Sylvester Lemmington and Viola find a wounded ferret in the river – worse, a wounded pirate ferret – with a treasure map and a warning that all too soon comes true…
Thus begins The Tides of Avarice, the first book in the Sagaria series by Swiss author John Dahlgren. There’s a lot to absorb in this novel – it runs to more than 400 pages, and maintains a pace ranging from brisk to breathless throughout – but Dahlgren maneuvers through the story with wit and confidence, keeping his characters and situations deftly on the move without losing sight of the long game.
When asked about his choice of characters for his writing during a recent interview, John Dahlgren said, “The Nordic sagas and mythologies has always had a place in my heart and while growing up in Sweden with it untamed landscapes, old forests, wide oceans and so on. I was inspired by them since an early age. Even today, elderly people leave out some food for the gnomes before going to bed,” he continued. “Silly superstition of course, but it does still have a strong impact for many Scandinavians. I got the inspiration for Sagaria many years ago when I was out walking in the woods with my dog. I saw an abandoned forest well and since I was reading a lot of fantasy novels at the time, I simply couldn't resist fantasizing about a gate or portal leading to a parallel world or fantasy realm from that well. Of course, for a boy to wander into a magical land is by no means extraordinary when writing a fantasy but I've tried to emphasize on the characters themselves, what motivates them, and of course to try to make them as three-dimensional as possible. I guess my background as a psychologist helped a little to get into their minds and how each character would react when facing an unusual situation. They all have their own unique personalities and backgrounds.”
John Dahlgren’s writing is extraordinary, receiving a 5 star rating from Pacific Book Review. His style crosses many genres, and has a pace and honesty that will draw in many readers of fantasy, sci-fi, adventure stories. “I’ve always considered fantasy to being the most boundless form of literature, but as I learned at Oxford, even has to obey certain rules (it has to make sense). So, by including a little sci-fi was actually intentional and I think suitable,” Dahlgren said.
About the Author: John Dahlgren, a psychologist and a member of the Swiss Psychologist Federation, has been working as a marketing director for a pharmaceutical company in Switzerland since 1998. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, he grew up close to the vast and untamed landscapes of Scandinavia, and was influenced from an early age by Nordic sagas, fairy tales and mythologies. This environment fired his imagination and later inspired him to become a fiction writer. He has studied creative and fiction writing at Oxford University, where he earned high praise for his work. Currently engaged in several book projects for both younger readers and adults, he lives in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, with his wife and two children.