Highfire: A Novel (Hardcover)

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(SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY)

Staff Reviews


From Kirkus:
An accident-prone teenage boy named Squib forms an unlikely friendship with a dragon living in a Louisiana bayou.
Squib Moreau can’t catch a break. His kindhearted single mother, Elodie, works long hours as a nurse, and when she’s not worrying about what her son is up to, she’s fighting off the advances of the local constable, Regence Hooke. Elodie and Squib both get the feeling that Hooke is something more dangerous than a sleazy cop, and they’re right: He’s murderous, corrupt, and out to take over the local drug-running business. When Squib sees something he shouldn’t late at night out on the water and Hooke goes after him with a grenade launcher, Squib suddenly finds himself being rescued by a dragon. The dragon in question, Vern (short for “Wyvern, Lord Highfire”), believes he is the last of his kind and lives in secret deep in the swamp. Vern holds a centuries-old grudge against the race that killed off his fellow dragons but finds himself in need of a helper, or “familiar.” Vern may be a dragon, but he has a taste for TV, vodka, Flashdance T-shirts, and all sorts of things he can’t get for himself. Vern reluctantly lets Squib work for him, and over time they develop a camaraderie. But when Hooke sees Vern for himself, he decides to use Squib to force the dragon to do some of his dirty work. Colfer’s best-known writing is geared toward young adults (The Fowl Twins, 2019, etc.), but between some of the gorier scenes and Hooke’s sinister inner monologue, you wouldn’t know it. He writes this book in a folksy Louisiana voice that drawls right off the page: “Squib was as jumpy as a cat in a doghouse traversing the river.” Vern’s taste for modern life (he’s on the Keto diet) is clever, and he is a prickly but lovable foil to the unholy terror that is Constable Hooke.
A fun, unusual contemporary fantasy that doesn’t skimp on violence.

Artemis Fowl was one of my favorite books growing up. I loved Artemis almost as much as I loved Harry and Ron. Eoin Colfer has a knack for building imaginative worlds full of adventure and awe. Highfire is his first ever Adult Fantasy novel, and may be his biggest adventure yet.
Meet Lord Highfire Vern, the world's last dragon. His kind used to rule the skies with dignity and grace, now after The Great Dragon Purge, Vern is all alone. Forced to go into hiding, Vern landed himself in a swamp cave in southern Alabama. Content to drink Vodka and watch Netflix for the rest of his lonely life, Vern was very surprised to find a teenage boy wandering around in his humble cave. Squib (the boy) is in big trouble with local law for something he didn't do. Vern has an important decision to make, torch the boy and forget he ever existed (Vern is NOT a fan of humans), or help him. Join Vern and take to the skies with this hilariously profane adventure about a boy who needs help, and a dragon who needs a friend.

— From Zach

February 2020 Indie Next List


Highfire hooked me from the first pages. Vern, a grumpy dragon languishing in the Louisiana swamps, believes he’s the last of his species. Squib, a 15-year-old boy, is just trying to stay out of trouble and earn some money doing odd jobs. The intersection of these two one-of-a-kind characters sucks you in like a whirlpool. I loved reading about the absurd circumstances they found themselves in. This book has all the earmarks of a great hand-seller for the dead of winter, when we all need something new!”
— Patricia Worth, River Reader Books, Lexington, MO

Description


From the New York Times bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series comes a hilarious and high-octane adult novel about a vodka-drinking, Flashdance-loving dragon who lives an isolated life in the bayous of Louisiana—and the raucous adventures that ensue when he crosses paths with a fifteen-year-old troublemaker on the run from a crooked sheriff.

In the days of yore, he flew the skies and scorched angry mobs—now he hides from swamp tour boats and rises only with the greatest reluctance from his Laz-Z-Boy recliner. Laying low in the bayou, this once-magnificent fire breather has been reduced to lighting Marlboros with nose sparks, swilling Absolut in a Flashdance T-shirt, and binging Netflix in a fishing shack. For centuries, he struck fear in hearts far and wide as Wyvern, Lord Highfire of the Highfire Eyrie—now he goes by Vern. However...he has survived, unlike the rest. He is the last of his kind, the last dragon. Still, no amount of vodka can drown the loneliness in his molten core. Vern’s glory days are long gone. Or are they?

A canny Cajun swamp rat, young Everett “Squib” Moreau does what he can to survive, trying not to break the heart of his saintly single mother. He’s finally decided to work for a shady smuggler—but on his first night, he witnesses his boss murdered by a crooked constable.

Regence Hooke is not just a dirty cop, he’s a despicable human being—who happens to want Squib’s momma in the worst way. When Hooke goes after his hidden witness with a grenade launcher, Squib finds himself airlifted from certain death by…a dragon?

The swamp can make strange bedfellows, and rather than be fried alive so the dragon can keep his secret, Squib strikes a deal with the scaly apex predator. He can act as his go-between (aka familiar)—fetch his vodka, keep him company, etc.—in exchange for protection from Hooke. Soon the three of them are careening headlong toward a combustible confrontation. There’s about to be a fiery reckoning, in which either dragons finally go extinct—or Vern’s glory days are back.

A triumphant return to the genre-bending fantasy that Eoin Colfer is so well known for, Highfire is an effortlessly clever and relentlessly funny tour-de-force of comedy and action.

 

 

About the Author


Eoin Colfer is the New York Times bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series as well as two adult crime novels, Plugged, which was short-listed for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Screwed. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.


Praise For…


"The anticipated adult novel from Colfer, best known for the Artemis Fowl series, features more of that wild imagination that loyal readers have come to love (in this case, a dragon who loves vodka, Flashdance, and his Laz-Z-Boy recliner crossing paths with a troublemaking swamp rat)."
— Entertainment Weekly

“Author of the popular Artemis Fowl books for kids, Colfer has turned his attention to adult fiction to good effect, writing a delightfully funny page-turner with plenty of crossover appeal to teens and sprinkled with genial turns of phrase: alligators’ jaws are “wide like Satan’s hedge clippers”; Hooke is “distributing more mess than a group of finger painting toddlers on a Skittles sugar high.” Colfer has conjured up voices redolent of the Deep South and delightfully profane. And the characters are simply terrific. But what about those alligators?”
— Booklist (starred review)

"A fun, unusual contemporary fantasy.."
— Kirkus Reviews

“A twisty, tongue-in-cheek fantasy that’s part thriller, part action movie, and wholly irreverent.  . . . Colfer’s catchy narrative voice suits the characters and their setting perfectly, capturing Vern’s world-weary nature, Squib’s youthful adaptability, and Hooke’s malicious cunning. This no-holds-barred yarn is good fun from start to finish.”
— Publishers Weekly


Product Details
ISBN: 9780062938558
ISBN-10: 006293855X
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: January 28th, 2020
Pages: 384
Language: English
 

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