The Last Speaker – A Historical Fantasy Novel of Friendship and Gentle Magic

A picture of the cover of "The Last Speaker", a novel of fantasy and gentle magic by Lee Burton

This understated, almost cozy, historical fantasy is unusual in many aspects. It focuses on a friendship that forms between drifters hopping trains as they travel in search of agricultural work. However, this group of damaged and dispossessed men possesses a subtle magic, and their newest member, Joe, not what he seems to be. Joe’s story and the histories of the other men are slowly revealed in pleasant vernacular as they work the farm of an elderly widow, Mrs. Miranda.

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a story celebrating platonic friendship between men, especially a friendship based on trust, mutual support, shared outsider status, and work, as opposed to competition or conquest. Joe’s relationship with the other men revitalizes him and reconnects him with the world, a quiet story, but one worth telling.

it took him a long time to realize he had begun to slip away from living, of having people with him, so that he would never have to regret in the end that he ever loved the people that he now missed.
Lee Burton

The setting, Mrs Miranda’s farm in depression era North America, is vividly depicted, the characters are emotionally complex, and the story touches on themes of mortality, loneliness and isolation, and the power of memory and friendship.

Highly recommended. Options to purchase can be found on Goodreads.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top