Dartmoor... The Saving by BJ Burton

Rating 8.0/10
Dartmoor… The Saving is unlike anything you may have read before.

Beneath the wide-open spaces of Dartmoor live the Dini. Now just two feet tall, their bodies no longer able to bare children, the Dini are dying out. Only ten survive on the moor.

According to their own folklore they are descendants of the Celtic tribe, the Votadini, who were great warriors and horsemen. Led by their kinsman warlord, whose battle name was Artos (now remembered as Arthur), they defeated the Saxon invaders. The witch Demetia, responsible for the treacherous downfall of Artos, sought to punish his loyal kinsmen and cursed the Votadini so that generation by generation they shrunk in size.

After 1,000 years, the Dini were forced by the cruelty of the Biguns to live in hiding in the wild places. But staying hidden is growing difficult as modern-day Biguns pour into the wild places to enjoy their stark beauty. Is it time to stop hiding and fight back?

A series of strange events arouses the suspicions of Dartmoor Ranger Bob Johnson. Is he going mad or can there really be tiny people living on the moor? If he is going mad, he’s not the only one – there’s a strange old man who believes he is the re-incarnation of Merlin. Is it Bob’s role to save them? Is there an even bigger task for him? Inspired by the Spirit of Artos, Bob becomes Robert Edgar Johnson, Guardian of the Earth, Companion of Kings. Maybe, just maybe, he can help to save us all.

Dartmoor… The Saving is a charming tale from author BJ Burton; part historical fantasy, part contemporary fantasy, this is a story that will leave you believing that little people really do exist in the remote areas of the British Isles.

The stars of the show are undoubtedly the Dini, the little folk themselves; cursed, generation after generation they shrink in size until now, unable to bare children, there are only ten left.

“Each generation was of smaller stature than the one before. After seven hundred years we were only half the size we had once been. As we became smaller and smaller, we went from a position of respect to one of ridicule. We were treated as something strange and suspicious. If anything went wrong we were suspected of witchcraft.”
Dartmoor… The Saving: Chapter 5 – The Droller’s Tale

Written in the third person, using a pleasantly-paced and neat narrative, the setting is kept mainly to Dartmoor and its environs (the Dini of Snowdonia and Cumbria are alluded to but not explored in great detail). The story of the Dini runs parallel to that of Ranger Bob and Jane, humans (or Biguns as the Dini call them) who live near the moor. The Dini want somewhere warm and safe to live, Bob and Jane want, but cannot have children. Bob and Jane live in a large house that is too big for their needs… you can, as the reader, see the perfect solution to both parties needs but will the author allow this to happen?

The author skilfully brings across the austere beauty of Dartmoor and the Dini are portrayed so realistically that it would not surprise you if you met one the next time you went for a walk.

There are some really loveable characters amongst the Dini, you really feel for their plight and can’t help but feel anger at how humans are destroying their natural environment. The relationship that really stands out is that of Carn and Eppie; a loving relationship that will have the reader hoping that their ending is the happy one that they deserve. The disreputable Tegid and his brother and unwilling accomplice Nudd are also memorable.

Add to this storyline a generous helping of Arthurian legend and Celtic mythology and you have a rich and satisfying read that will show an Arthur (Artos) and a Merlin (Myrddin) different to the ones widely known.

BJ Burton loves both the Dartmoor of the setting and the little people of his creation. His passion for his tale makes this a very readable and enjoyable experience. The reader will be left with a desire to explore the areas lovingly described within. Dartmoor… The Saving is unlike anything you may have read before. I would highly recommend this book.

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Dartmoor... The Saving reader reviews

from Sunderland, Ontario, Canada

8-stars

A great book that starts off slow and builds to a "can't put down" read. Great for anyone who is familiar with Dartmoor and the local area! Looking forward to the next book.

8/10 from 2 reviews

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