Book Reviews


T. Isilwath

T. Isilwath: Heart of a Fox.

Publisher: T. Isilwath.

Title: The Heart of a Fox
Author: T. Isilwath
ISBN: 978-1-60530-162-4
Publisher: T. Isilwath
Pages: 420

A Fantasy Novel Set In Japan's Mythical Past.

This review will not be easy to write because its aspects will be largely unfamiliar to most Westerners. This book has many aspects to it. It is a fantasy novel about time travel. It's also set in feudal Japan and relies almost entirely on Japanese mythology. It's a work of the purest escapism. There is no doubt about that. So, let me begin.

The author, T. Isilwath, had a small army of proofreaders and helpers to assist her with her writing of this book. She thanks them often in her notes, forewords and in other places. That this book has been written lengthily, diligently and methodically is in no doubt. The cover too, which depicts a scene from the heroine's forest adventure, is beautifully illustrated by Cynthia Carey.

Please let me make this clear, because I think it's important. This story is extremely emotional. I mean by that that it details with great care even the most minute aspects of its characters' thoughts and feelings. This practice is continued at regular intervals throughout the story. And, where the details of the characters' thoughts and feelings totalled up in terms of space in the novel, they would run to many hundreds of pages. I conclude therefore that, although the plot is plainly important in this story, it takes a less central role than the characters' emotions do.

The plot, where it matters, consists of sending the heroine, Joanna Tindall, far back in time. There she meets creatures from Japanese folk mythology, such as magical foxes and lethal demonic bests with bovine heads. She also eventually meets feudal Japanese villagers with very strict rules about social hierarchies. Were it not for Joanna's falling in love with one of these mythical beasts, they would form only part of the narrative background. However, her deep relationship with Akihiro, a legendary creature, part Japanese myth and part Isilwath's own creation, brings them very much to the fore.

The joy of reading this story is predicated upon the reader's ability to adopt Isilwath's make-believe world. Isilwath spares no detail and trouble in facilitating this. I believe that she succeeds marvellously in taking us into an otherwise entirely unimaginable realm.

In my view the author, and her many helpers, are to be congratulated for what they have achieved. This is a beautiful story and a wonderful creation.

My Recommendations for this Book:

Particularly for lovers of other worlds, romances and thoroughly escapist literature, I recommend this book highly.

Review by Patrick Mackeown, October 2007

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