A scholar publishes his secret translation of ten scrolls found hidden under a five thousand year old South American temple. The scrolls tell the story of Ammon, a young man killed in a surprise bombing near his home. When Ammon’s friends go to bury him, they find him not dead, but alive. Ammon’s friend Tanzin leads him on a quest to discover the reason for his strange recovery and his increasing number of amazing new abilities. The journey takes Ammon to a distant mountain sanctuary, where he meets a hidden race of mystical beings. When war breaks out between Ammon’s people and their enemies, the battleground gradually moves toward the sanctuary, threatening to destroy the Mystics and free their dangerous, powerful prisoners. Ammon must choose between the past and the future, between hatred and forgiveness, between fear and faith, between war and peace, and finally, between his own life and death.
The Phoenix Firestorm Official site
This is a fantasy adventure novel for young and not-so-young adults who like books such as Harry Potter, Fablehaven, Leventhumps and others in this genre.
The book is family friendly, thought provoking and challenging but yet fast paced and entertaining.
The bomber pulled his hood closer around his face and carefully parked his wagon alongside the elegant palace of the Promethian leaders. The hood and a full beard hid his face so he could never be identified. He moved casually to avoid suspicion, but his pulse pounded as he walked away from the load of black powder. His hatred of the Promethians consumed him, and a few moments from now he and his brothers would strike their great city without warning. Nobody would ever forget this glorious day, the day his enemies paid for their sins with their own blood. He slipped behind the corner of the nearest building and pulled his bow from under his cloak, imagining himself surrounded by his Icarian brothers at a feast in their honor. Checking around him to make sure he was safe, he drew an arrow, lit the oiled tip, aimed, and fired it at the wagon. As it flew, the bomber hoped his horses would not suffer.
The flaming arrow pierced the cloth covering on the wagon and sank into the powdery cargo. Before the bomber could duck around the corner, the wagon exploded with a roaring blast that ripped through the palace wall and shot a ball of searing fire a hundred yards in every direction. As the flames swept over him, the bomber did not even feel himself die. His burnt corpse fell as a second explosion pounded the city, then a third. The explosions continued on and on, and buildings all through the city crashed in ruins. In the ashes and smoking rubble, a woman named Isis and her son Ammon lay bleeding and dying.
The thundering blasts stopped, and a strange moment of absolute silence followed as grey ash fell like snow. Then the moans and wails of injured victims rose into the silence. Chunks of broken buildings teetered and crashed down into the smoking rubble. Flames from hundreds of fires crackled and flared through the smoky haze, creating glowing dark clouds that engulfed the scene. Dazed survivors stumbled out of the shattered buildings, gasping for fresh air, but many of them fell when the toxic fumes overcame them. Some of them thought to cover their mouths and noses with their scorched clothing, and a few staggered on to safety. People shouted as they searched for their families and friends, and sometimes screamed when they found injured or lifeless bodies. The dead said nothing, heard nothing, felt nothing.
People outside the blast area started moving. Some had taken cover, and others had stood and watched in shock. Bell-ringers all through the city ran to their towers, and soon the clang of the alarms echoed through the soot-filled air. The bells startled the stunned bystanders, and some of them ran into the wreckage to help, while others ran away in panic.
On a hillside above the city, a man called Tanzin quickly hitched two horses to his wagon, leapt into the seat beside his wife, Tarayza, and shook the reins. Judging by the smoke plume rising overhead, the people in the city would need their healing skills immediately. Tanzin urged the horses, and they raced toward the blast area. Tarayza looked toward her husband and said, “I think you should tend to anyone you can help, while I look for Ammon.”
“I just hope he’s not in there,” Tanzin said. “I suggest you check the shop first. Isis could help us if she’s safe.”
By the time they reached the outer edges of the blast area, the ash had mostly settled and the smoke and dust had thinned enough to let them see about fifteen feet ahead. Their wheels and horses’ hooves threw dust and ash from the road, and they wrapped scarves over their mouths and noses. Soon they had to stop because of rubble blocking their path. Tarayza hurried down from the wagon, unhitched one of the horses, jumped onto its bare back, and rode carefully through the debris toward the main market in the city’s center. Tanzin tethered the other horse and picked his way across the wreckage. He noticed that Promethian Guards in their dark green tunics had spread out across the area, patrolling against looters and searching for evidence.
A woman lay face-down about ten feet ahead, and Tanzin hurried to check on her. She tried to roll over, but heavy rubble and a big chunk of stone trapped her left arm. Tanzin rolled the stone off, and she whimpered in pain as she pulled the arm free. She looked at the bottom of it, screamed, and fainted; the jagged end of a bone poked out through her ripped, bloody skin. She also had cuts and small amounts of blood on her face, arms, and hands, but those injuries seemed minor. Tanzin had to make a quick decision. He could use his ordinary medical knowledge to pull the bone back in and tie a splint on her arm, or he could use his other powers to heal her arm completely. He normally could not consider healing her with his secret powers, but because she had fainted, she might wake up and think she had been imagining things. She would never know for certain. Tanzin decided to take the risk. He gripped her shattered arm, pulled the bone back into place, and wrapped his hands around the break for a few seconds. The bone knit back together under his hands, and then he pulled the skin together at the ragged cut where the bone had come through and put his hand on it. When he took his hand away, the hole was gone. Her minor injuries could heal themselves, Tanzin thought, so he got up and began looking for other injured people.
Fortunately, most of the people on the edges of the blast area bore only minor injuries, and many people had come to help, but the injuries were more severe the further in he went. A small dog lay in the debris. It seemed unhurt except for the blood trickling from its mouth, but Tanzin knew it was beyond help. Looking on, he saw a leg jutting out of the wreckage, which belonged to a boy who lay flat on his back, covered in ash, eyes wide open. He smiled at Tanzin; he was in shock and did not realize that both of his arms were gone. Tanzin hurried to tie off the stubs and stop the bleeding. He looked around for the arms but did not see them. It made no difference anyway, because even with his unusual powers, Tanzin could not replace missing limbs. He turned away so the boy would not see his tears and went on. A Promethian guard walked out of the smoke cradling a small child in his strong arms and softly singing a lullaby to the limp body. A man in the road knelt over his horse, stroking the horse’s face and comforting him as the animal lay oozing blood from the hole where a splintered wooden stake protruded from his chest. Tanzin hoped to help and started toward them, but before he got there the horse shuddered and died.
The city had begun to fill up with survivors rushing in to search for family members. People staggered among the debris calling out names and listening for responses. When someone answered back, people tried to dig them out. The smoldering fires threw off smoke that made breathing difficult, though it helped cover the rising stink of death. Through the smoke, the enormous palace stood firm, even though its outer walls and corners had been blown away and black scorch marks marred its marble surface. Many of the trees smoldered, and broken-off branches lay all around. Falling ash had covered the leaves, giving the trees a ghostly look as their leaves fluttered in the smoky air. Through the haze, Tanzin saw someone coming toward him, leading a horse. It was Tarayza. As she came closer, he saw two bodies draped over the horse’s back. He ran over, checked the bodies, and saw that they were Isis and Ammon. Isis was not breathing; Ammon breathed very faintly, but had wet blood in his mouth.
“We have to get him to our house,” Tarayza said. “You can’t work on him properly here.”
“I have to help him right now,” Tanzin said. “He is bleeding inside.” He put his hands on Ammon’s back and closed his eyes as he let some of his strength flow to Ammon’s unconscious body, then he turned to Tarayza. “All right,” he said. “Let’s take them to the wagon and get home fast.” They hurried through the wreckage to their wagon, put Isis and Ammon in back, and threw the harness on the horse. Tarayza drove out while Tanzin worked on Ammon in the back. “I have to save him if I can,” Tanzin said. “I promised Isis I would.” He ran his hands over Ammon’s head and chest, trying to find the injuries. Tarayza wept silently as she drove on and finally pulled into their yard. They jumped down and lowered Ammon to the ground. When Tanzin knelt beside him, he realized Ammon’s breathing had stopped, and his heart had stopped beating as well. Tanzin tried using his powers to heal the heart, but could not make it restart. He tried to heal the lungs, but Ammon would not breathe. He continued for several minutes, trying everything he knew, but nothing worked. Tarayza knelt beside him on the grass.
“Tanzin, he’s gone,” she said.
Tanzin hung his head. “I know.” He looked helplessly at Tarayza. “I don’t know what else to do. I’ve failed.”
“You haven’t failed,” Tarayza said. “You promised to find him if he died, remember? Isis never asked you to save him.”
He looked down at Ammon’s youthful face and tried to absorb the tragedy, then said, “Let’s take them to the cellars while we figure out what to do next."