The Bartholomew the Adventurer Trilogy is a story of spiritual transformation wrapped in a romping tale of adventure set in the far distant future after humans have vanished from the planet. The protagonist is a rather silly and self centered rabbit named Bartholomew who sets out in search of a missing object which he is unable to describe or name. Along the way he meets his adventuring companion, Oliver T. Rabbit, a brilliant scientist who also undergoes a deep transformation in the trilogy, coming to understand that there is no magic, only science, whether it’s time travel, parallel dimensions, manifesting physical objects with thoughts, or reincarnation. Their adventures take them to lost cities, parallel universes and other planets, along the way meeting a host of memorable characters including ancient robotic rabbits, the Tree of Eyes, the Singing Monks of Nirriim, the Blue Spectre, Edmund the Explorer, etc. By the end of the third book Bartholomew Rabbit has transformed into a fully awakened and enlightened being.
The Eleventh Ring
Sent to the Cavern of Silence by his servant Parfello, Bartholomew Rabbit begins a quest to find the mysterious Great Gem. He is aided along the way by the Tree of Eyes, the nefarious Skeezle Brothers, and his new best friend Oliver T. Rabbit, a renowned scientist working for the Excelsior Electro-Vacuumator Corporation. As Bartholomew’s self-awareness and magical shaping skills grow, his quest transforms to a search for his dearest childhood friend, Clara Rabbit. To save Clara from certain death, he must defeat the evil and powerful Zoran the Emerald Shaper, wearer of the dreaded Tenth Ring.
In this fantasy debut, a restless rabbit longs for adventure, and fate is happy to oblige.
The life of Lepus Hollow resident Bartholomew Rabbit changes with a dream. In it, a green-cloaked stranger says, “You must find it. It is yours and you must find it.” Bartholomew searches his home for a missing object to no avail. His servant Parfello suggests visiting the Cavern of Silence, which answers the questions of those who wait patiently. In the cavern, Bartholomew learns that he’s missing his own Great Gem, and he must next speak with the Tree of Eyes for guidance. A reference book leads Bartholomew to the Swamp of Lost Things, where he encounters the tree and the Skeezle Brothers, who deal in lost treasure. The Skeezles, however, decide to imprison Bartholomew inside a storage room alongside another captive named Oliver T. Rabbit. A crafty inventor, Oliver helps Bartholomew escape using a volatile element known as duplonium. After parting ways with Oliver, Bartholomew discovers The Most Beautiful Island, a surreal place that helps close the circle of his quest. Or does it? Once back home, Bartholomew begins thinking of Clara, the childhood love whom he hasn’t seen or heard from in years. The real adventure starts when Bartholomew realizes that “all the events in my life are tied together by invisible strings.” Hoffman kicks off a thematically ambitious trilogy using several fantasy tropes, like a talking tree and a mysterious robed benefactor. These ideas act as comfortable furniture, as the author soon blends in more fabulous concepts, including colored thought clouds (that can be touched and examined) and the Shapers Guild (a group of powerful individuals who can turn thought into reality and back again). Some of these ideas may be hard for younger readers to fully appreciate, but Hoffman’s clear, graceful prose continuously opens the narrative to grander elements—like robot rabbits and a secret ring from beyond the depths of time—that never fail to enthrall.
An epic that hits all the perfect notes of science, magic, and sweetness.
Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite - 5 stars
Tom Hoffman's epic fantasy, The Eleventh Ring: Bartholomew the Adventurer, Book One, features a most remarkable and introspective rabbit whose journey to the Cavern of Silence is just the beginning of a grand and sometimes terrifying adventure. Hoffman's tale is compelling and thoughtfully plotted. His characters are animals, which I had thought might be a distraction, but they quickly became much more than furry woodland creatures. Along the way, Bartholomew encounters Oliver T. Rabbit, a scientist and inventor, whose gifts with machinery infuse a marvelous steampunk atmosphere to the tale. I had a grand time reading The Eleventh Ring. The visionary questing Bartholomew undertakes brought to mind the classic fantasy tales of George MacDonald, Hope Mirrlees and Lord Dunsany, with more than just a touch of Jules Verne added in. The Eleventh Ring: Bartholomew the Adventurer, Book One is most highly recommended.