The Book of Joby by Mark J. Ferrari (2007, Tor Books)
Freelance illustrator Mark J. Ferrari makes his fiction debut with The Book of Joby, a hugely ambitious epic of modern fantasy. By turns hillarious and tear-jerking, the story mixes Arthurian legend with ages-old mythological archetypes (coming of age, the harrowing of hell, e.g.), reincarnation, and the religious philosophical debate of free will versus predestination.
God and the devil make the same pact they have made countless times before: will God's chosen champion renounce Him and turn to evil when all hope seems lost? This time, however, the stakes are nothing short of the entirety of creation. So it is that nine year old Joby Peterson is unknowingly chosen. The story follows Joby as his life becomes a never-ending cycle of crushing and tragic mediocracy.
The Book of Joby is a well-crafted example of modern fantasy, and an utterly absorbing read filled with well-imagined sympathetic and unsympathetic characters. Keep Ferrari's name on your list of new authors to watch for.
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars