Wayfarers Highway by Peter Petrack is an intriguing and wildly entertaining novel following the life of Orson Gregory, a man who finds a magical gemstone hidden in a factory. He tells the story from a hospital bed about how he’s been on the run ever since – pursued by terrorists, bounty hunters, sinister forces, and more, who are all after the gemstone’s mystical power. Orson teams up with a group of adventurers so he might escape with his life, but even as he tells his tale, he may still be in danger.
The most interesting element in Wayfarers Highway is it mixes the fantastical and the everyday, which in effect makes the fantasy elements more realistic, and even plausible. Though “magical gemstone” sounds like typical fantasy fare, the novel is anything but. Petrack’s literary style enhances this dynamic – in a very good way. Thoughtfully written and conceived, it’s the rare novel that manages to have feet in two genres – fantasy and literary fiction – while being successful at both.
Though Orson’s voice is compelling, it is a bit clipped and staccato at times. That is, it seems very much like a guy telling a story, but the jolting nature of his narrative does take some getting used to. Once you’re on board with his storytelling style, you’ll dive in because the story itself is so compelling and full of surprises. Plainly, you won’t read another book like Wayfarers Highway, which is high praise, given that fantasy is such a crowded genre.