Title: Highlander: The Element of Fire
Author: Jason Henderson
Published By: Warner Books
Year Published: 1995
Page Count: 212
Notes: The Element of Fire is the first in a short-lived series of Highlander novels. The series, beginning with The Element of Fire and ending with An Evening at Joe’s, are considered canon by the creators of the movie and TV franchise.
Element deals with an immortal named Khordas, who was born “In a year without number.” The opening sequence taking place somewhere in what would become Scotland years later.
The story is not paced like a typical Highlander episode. That is, the story jumps from a “year without number” to 1897 CE, with stops in 1625, 1632, and, 1853 CE, and not a framing story with a single flashback sequence.
The novel does feature both Duncan and Connor MacLeod. Connor features prominently in the story in an obvious attempt to blend the two halves of the franchise together. For the novel, it works, and works well.
Overall, the story works for a Highlander “episode.” When reading it, long time Highlander fans can easily “hear” the voices of Adrian Paul (Duncan MacLeod) and Christopher Lambert (Connor MacLeod).
The story is paced in such a way as to show both the history of the characters involved and the long-held enmity between them. This works well in the story and structure of the novel, something Henderson does quite well.
Where Element fails is its tendency to drag. While the characterizations of the principal characters are good, the pacing slows down in the middle, somewhat, and you might find yourself thinking “get on with it, already!”
At only 212 pages, one would think this wouldn’t be a problem, but, inexplicably, it becomes one quite fast. This is the books only real weakness, in my view.
Grade: I enjoyed this book, despite its slow pacing in some areas. Four Goons out of Five.