Izar, The Amesbury Archer

Written by Michael E. Wills
Review by J. Lynn Else

During the Stone Age, Izar must prove his worth in an unforgiving landscape after an accident limits the use of his knee. He becomes skilled in creating copper knives, and many headmen would kill for such craftsmanship. Thus begins Izar’s journey from clan to clan as he struggles to find safety and a home.

While this novel is geared for young adults, Izar never comes across as youthful. Granted, his life is hanging on a balance, as those with disabilities rarely survive long. Thus, he grows up fast. The tension is thick throughout the storyline. However, younger readers may struggle to connect. The only characters of the target age group either die or are the subjects of discussions about child sacrifice. Without a relatable narrator, I worry this novel will struggle with its market appeal. Where it will attract is with its disabled main character who learns and grows and travels (with help). The novel embraces what it means to be different in an unforgiving setting. Bravo!

Everything seemed well edited until page 138 when it suddenly jumped to page 145. Five pages later, pages 139-144 appeared. Another critical eye would be welcomed to finalize the book to its most professional state.

Story-wise, Izar traverses a vast landscape, by land and sea. The settings are vibrant. Wills’s research shines in the meticulous details surrounding Izar’s craft, which continues to develop throughout the novel and will engage readers. A captivating tale of a boy-turned-man using his skills to survive in ancient times.