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Vintage Treasures: Barrow by John Deakins

Sunday, January 28th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Barrow John Deakins-small Barrow John Deakins-back-small

One of the reasons I like Roc is they have a long reputation of taking chances on new authors. Some of those gambles pay off handsomely, including folks like Jim Butcher, Anne Bishop, Carol Berg, Rob Thurman, and many others. Sometimes the authors involved produce a trilogy or two, and then retire into obscurity. And sometimes, like John Deakins, they produce a single novel and then vanish.

John Deakins’ Barrow was published by Roc in April 1990. It was the first and last book he published with Roc (or any mainstream publisher). There isn’t a lot of information about Deakins online, although I did find this brief bio by blogger Janika Banks, who appears to have been a neighbor.

Here’s a snippet.

When I first met John, he was called Deak, or ‘the Deakster’ by the local high school students. He was a fairly popular science teacher, into fantasy fiction and things like wizard card collections…¬†John is a very involved kind of guy, both in the fiction fan world and in real life stuff. If I remember correctly, he’s been editor of a science and fantasy fiction story magazine, and has widely discussed ideas and writing issues with a variety of people over the years.

No idea what magazine he may have edited, though he did publish dozens of book reviews for Warren Lapine’s Absolute Magnitude between 1996 and 2003.

Although Deakins published a single novel with Roc, he did produce several sequels to Darrow, all through Wilder Publications. The first, Barrow II: Under the Thousand Stars, was written with Greg Sellers and released 17 years after the first volume. Two more followed, published in 2007 and 2008. All are still available in digital format at Amazon.

There was also a UK edition of the first volume, published by Pan Books in 1991 with a new cover by Julek Heller.

Barrow was published by Roc Books in April 1990. It is 318 pages (336 if you include all five appendices), priced at $3.95. The cover artist is uncredited. It was reprinted in 2007 by Wilder Publications.

See all of our recent Vintage Treasures here.


  1. Covers like this one, and cold winter January days like today, just make me want to curl up with a cup of Earl Grey and just read good old fashioned fantasy books.

    Comment by James McGlothlin - January 28, 2018 4:06 pm

  2. Indeed they do, Dr. McGlothlin.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 28, 2018 11:12 pm

  3. Amazon has four titles by Deakins – all part of the Barrow series.

    Comment by ssiknaf - January 29, 2018 5:15 pm

  4. Yup — they’re mentioned at the bottom of my article. Two were written with Greg Sellers. But the last one appears to be a solo effort.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 29, 2018 5:19 pm

  5. This is a collections of six interconnected short stories set in a hardscrabble fantasy town. It was probably hurt by the fact that books such as Thieves’ World and Merovingen Nights were all out there at the same time.

    The highlight is a story told from the point of view of a monster set free after its wizard master was killed.

    Comment by veryoldgreendragon - March 10, 2018 7:45 am

  6. John Deakins (the author) was a teacher in my small hometown when I was little. I remember having discussions about Science and History with him when I was in middle school waiting for my mother (a high school art teacher) was grading after school.

    Comment by fatproduce - July 2, 2018 5:41 pm

  7. > John Deakins (the author) was a teacher in my small hometown when I was little…

    Thanks for sharing that! He must have been a fascinating teacher.

    Comment by John ONeill - July 2, 2018 9:12 pm

  8. Just finished this book and LOVED it! I am really pumped to read the continuation of the series on my Kindle!

    Comment by fatproduce - July 22, 2018 2:48 pm

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