• njpoulton

Classic 70s and 80s Fantasy Book Covers - The Giant Under the Snow

The first novel by John Gordon, in 1968, was largely successful (and followed by a little known sequel called Ride the Wind) and tells of three children, Jonquil, Bill and Arf, in John Gordon's favoured location of East Anglia.

Their discovery of an ancient treasure sees them embroiled in a battle between good and evil, including a mysterious black dog that haunts one of the protagonists, legends of a a pagan 'Green Man', and the shadowy 'leather men'. It's intriguing and eccentric in equal measure.

The cover (designed by Antony Maitland) is more stark than many Puffin books, and less 'beautiful' in many ways. But there is a raw power to it, that calls of the dark ages, and ancient rituals, which is quite haunting, and refreshingly 'stark'. As a result, it gets a thumbs up from me.

I first discovered this book as an adult and, while it has obviously dated, it moves quickly and keeps you hooked, until its Christmassy resolution. It was good enough to have me seek out more John Gordon books (a writer who seems to have been unfairly side-lined as time has passed). One of his most recent novels; Fen Runners, is another snow-drenched supernatural mystery, and although slight in length, is a captivating little read, especially by a roaring fire.

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