The first in a series of five (thus far), Bell Mountain marks the fantasy debut of author Lee Duigon, and it is an enjoyable debut too. The story follows two children, Jack and Ellayne, as they attempt to make their way across the corrupt kingdom of Obann to climb Bell Mountain and ring the legendary bell that sits atop its peak. Long ago the bell was built by the last good king, King Ozias, but not many believe in the story any longer.
Prompted by haunting dreams of the bell and a mysterious promise made by God in the ancient Writings, Jack and Ellayne believe that the ringing of the bell will reshape the world forever. This call to climb the mountain and ring the bell is not a quest they would want to do, either. It is believed by many that the ringing of the bell will mark the ending of the world. Will they find their courage to ring it? First, of course, they must get there; the road is fraught with many dangers, like child slavers, barbarians, outlaws, and bizarre creatures emerging from the mists of legend, as well as an assassin sent to prevent them from ringing the bell by the corrupt First Prester of the Obann church.
The book is a solid one, set in a fantasy world that borders on being an alternative, or parallel, world to our own. Duigon is a Christian, and so leans heavily on events and ideas taken from the Bible. This is tastefully handled, however, and he always shifts the stories enough to make them original, while maintaining their familiar echoes. King Ozias, for instance, is something of a King David figure, and I caught allusions to other biblical stories such as Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel.