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The first ‘Tinker Tale’ popped out over fifteen years ago and they just keep a-coming. ‘Die Schwarzwitwe’ (Black Widow) starts this collection, introducing Tinker and a couple of ongoing characters: Magic John-a gutter mage, and Red the Ted-a psychic bruiser of advancing years. It also introduces the theme of magic as Tinker begins his reluctant evolution into a magician with an exorcism. This one is for Vincent fans. Other characters follow. In ‘Hard Iain‘ a warrior Pict ancestor vectors into Tinker via a miscegenated motorcycle, precipitating a fiery immolation. Death, in the unlikely form of a young girl, thumbs a lift from Tinker in ’Free Ride’ and him to introduces Anarch, the irascible personification of Freedom. Problems with law and order follow, plus a gifting that effectively ensures a hands-off with Death. Iain resurfaces in ‘Pictoglyph’ to tell the tale of his heroic demise, set Tinker a heavy task, and leave his mark. In ‘Death in the Dam’ a cute little Reaper comes to claim an old friend from Tinker’s misspent youth who‘s run out of road. Away with the fairies at Underhill’s annual market, ‘Buyer Beware’ finds Tinker buying a pup, amongst other things, and rescuing a maiden from goblins. Bonzo, the pup, shows his stuff in ‘Boodgie Woodgie’ when Tinker takes him busking and the Law butts in. The next tale, ‘Alfie’, has Tinker acting as advocate for an old sinner while a demon prosecutes and Death sits in judgement. Lastly, in ‘Time Passages’, a trip to the past discovers Tinker confronting his younger self and Jean, the ill-fated love of his life. A choice to make and a life at stake. Sadder, wiser hopefully, Tinker faces the future--perhaps in ‘Tinker Tales Two’? Regular readers of ‘Back Street Heroes’ magazine may have seen some of these stories before, some of the characters may even seem vaguely familiar. Actually, there is a fair bit of reality in the mix, fact frequently being no stranger to fiction. Resemblance to anyone living, dead, or ethereal is but coincidental. Anyone offended by Tinker, or any other character, should remember they’re the stuff of which dreams are made, and who can claim to control a dream? Literate biker fiction may seem oxymoronic, some may be surprised they can actually read. ‘Tinker Tales’ attempts, not only to entertain, but to counter the negative reputation motorcycling and magic has acquired. If the author succeeds in that, it is enough.

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