The War of the Flowers Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The War of the Flowers

Theo Vilmos is a failing low-rent rock musician, who one day after the death of his mother discovers among her posessions an old journal written by his Great Uncle Eammon Dowd, which describes his adventures in Fairyland. Theo is quick to dismiss it, but soon he is led by the sprite Applecore to the very world described in his uncle's book, and there he seeks help from the Symbiotes, a leftist political party which seeks to protect humans from the foul designs of their opponents, the Excisors.
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Soon, the Excisors completely annihilate the Symbiotes, and Theo Vilmos must seek shelter with Mud Bug Button, the leader of a rebel organization which plans to overthrow Fairyland's new leaders.

Theo aids the rebels, and finds himself falling in love with Poppea Thornapple, the daughter of an influential Excisor, and discovers the truth behind his heritage.

The review of this Book prepared by Steve Arthur

Thirty-year old Theo Vilmos can't imagine how his life could get any worse. He's still playing in garage bands with band members half his own age, his pregnant girlfriend miscarries and leaves him, his mother dies of cancer, and he loses his part-time job delivering flowers… all within the span of a few short months. But when a walking corpse breaks through his bathroom window, and he's saved from the murderous creature by a fairy no taller than a ballpoint pen, Theo seriously starts to consider that things are only going to get worse before they get better.

Thrust into the magical land of Faerie, Theo struggles to understand the laws of a world unlike his own, while at the same time trying to comprehend what could possibly make him as important as he seems to be to the ruling class fairies. It seems everyone wants a piece of Theo, and not everyone's reasons are as benign as Theo would like. Accompanied by Applecore, his savior fairy the size of a ball-point pen, he makes his way through Faerie, most days trying only to stay alive from the myriad of creatures that seem to be pursuing him.

The review of this Book prepared by Liz Cooper

Daw, May 2003, 24.95, 686 pp.
ISBN: 0756401356

Minor league California rocker Theo Vilmos feels he is at the bottom of the food chain when matters turn worse when he loses his pregnant girlfriend. Thirty, alone, and his music going nowhere, Theo feels down. He decides to get away to relook the direction of his life that seems to be in free fall. At his mother's remote cabin, Theo finds an ancient looking tome handwritten by his weird Uncle Eamon about another realm, that of Faerie.

Soon Theo is shocked to learn Faerie exists when the sprite Applecore arrives at his abode. She escorts the reluctant musician through the gate to a magical land that quickly seems quite dismal to the visitor. War appears everywhere so much so that Theo feels his home planet seems relatively peaceful. While Theo begins to learn secrets about his gene pool, he falls in love, but this is a land in which life is not precious so he must show caution to survive especially when bombardier dragons attack.

This stand-alone fantasy is a great satirizing of current conditions on planet earth as seen through a looking glass mirror. The story line is extremely dark and grim yet often humorous as the plot shreds anything and everything of proud filled boasts about our compassionate great society. Theo is a fine character who serves as the center of the myriad of subplots, but it is the cantankerous, nasty Applecore who steals the show with her tinkering and editing of words of wisdom. A tad wordy, perhaps, but fans of Tad Williams, which probably includes Jonathan Swift, will appreciate this cutting faerie tale.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of The War of the Flowers

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 20%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 20%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 30% Tone of book    -   cynical or dry-wit FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   part earth & part fantasy world Romance    -   Yes Romance plotlets:    -   falling in love with the enemy Political power play    -   Yes Political plotlets    -   overthrowing govt/kingdom Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Human/magical couple?    -   Yes Type of couple:    -   He's a human, she's a magical being

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Age:    -   20's-30's


Earth setting:    -   current (early 21st century) Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Tad Williams Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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