A.S. Norris offers yet another thrilling quest in the pages of The Forbearing Mage: The Adventures of Jack Wartnose; fans of adventure fantasy will be blown away!
The Forbearing Mage is the second installment in A.S. Norris’s Jack Wartnose series. In it, we see the titular protagonist continuing his journey to find the mystical Tome of Time. This time, however, he is pursued by his ill-tempered and estranged daughter, Margaret, who is hellbent on exacting her revenge. If Jack’s hands aren’t full enough surviving Margaret in one moment and placating his comically displeased wife, Muriel, the next, then add to that the never-ending distrust from the Mage Council and, yet still, the arrival of another deadly nemesis racing to retrieve the Tome for themselves. The result: one heck of an adventure that promises all manner of magical hijinks leaving Jack as dizzy as they do determined. New and old friends and foes come together for a satisfying follow-up to “The Wayward Mage”.

The Forbearing Mage is a fun, fast-paced fantasy adventure that is equal parts clever, entertaining and rich. Norris’s ability to straddle so many literary fences and appeal to such a large audience with his light and inviting tone, among other standout features, is impressive, to say the least. Much like its predecessor, his sophomore outing is as much a comedy as it is a fantasy-adventure novel. His balance between the humorous and the exhilarating is precisely what makes the tone of The Forbearing Mage so charming and unique. Even when the prose is exaggeratedly formal, as is sometimes characteristic of the genre, readers can easily recognize Norris’s tongue in his cheek; we’re in on the joke, and it doesn’t make the book’s plot any less engaging. In fact, it does just the opposite; the moments in the book where tensions do rise become that much more meaningful.

The Forbearing Mage manages to demonstrate what makes any fantasy or adventure story great, all while maintaining a subtle religious undertones that will resonate strongly with core readers. In this way, the story serves as evidence that, when you put everything you have into creating compelling characters with complex relationships, you can make them stand out in any genre, any situation, and in any universe. And, indeed, beneath the clever repartee of Norris’s main cast of characters, there is a deeply satisfying complexity in each character that works to establish rich dynamics between them that manage to be fun, emotional, and incendiary all at the same time. As such, when the book’s most significant plot points arise, they feel gripping and organic — despite the otherwise light-hearted nature of the story. All of this is brought to life on the page by Norris’s playfully elegant prose.

The Forbearing Mage: The Adventures of Jack Wartnose leaves readers craving a third novel, wondering what comes next for its easy-to-love characters.