Brothers Trenton and Scout travel in the scorching desert heat to find out what happened to the Cold River and save their village and the magical Togi Tree from dying.
The Togi Tree is a magical tree that lives in the middle of the Cold River. It can grow large and shrink small, travel to various locations and make itself invisible. But when it is found, its orange fruit can sustain a person for many days.
In the wake of the most serious drought in recent history, fourteen-year-old Trenton and his brother, Scout, are sent by their village leader to find the wise Togi, who inhabits the Togi Tree and may hold the key to the survival of their village. They discover the life of the mystical Togi Tree is threatened and are sent on a mission to find out why the Cold River has dried up and how the Togi Tree can be saved. With only weeks to spare, Trenton and Scout navigate flash floods, survive unbearable thirst, and avoid wild animals to search for the answers.
Will Trenton and Scout be able to restore the Cold River to its former abundance, or will the lives of the Togi Tree and the villagers be lost forever?
Something growled in the unnerving silence. In front of him, a cougar stalked out of the dark smoke, its orange fur glowing.
Trenton stared at the large beast with awe and terror. Run, he told himself. But his legs wouldn’t work. He stood frozen in fear.
“You’re finally here,” the cougar growled. It circled Trenton once, large eyes studying every inch of him. “Where is the water to put out the fire? It was your only responsibility—get water to the tree. And you failed!” The cougar bared its large teeth as it slunk around him again. “We can’t depend on you for anything! I knew you would be too lazy to save the tree.”
“I ...I didn’t know I was supposed to get ...water. Why doesn’t someone else help out?” He trembled as the cougar stopped in front of him.
“There is no one else!” the cougar roared.
With a thunderous rumble, fire exploded behind Trenton. He spun around. A bright, orange inferno flared into the sky. Bits of fire rained down all around.
“What’s burning?” he asked, coughing as his lungs filled with smoke.
“The Tree!” the cougar growled beside him. “We needed water.”
What tree? He studied the fire, squinting through the smoke. He could barely see the branches of . . .
NO! The Togi Tree is on fire. He’d seen the tree once in a dream and heard the magical description countless times from Papa. But how can it burn? The Togi Tree lives in the Cold River.
He glanced down to find that he stood in the dust of a dry riverbed. “The river is gone! There’s no water to put the fire out.”
A loud crackling noise came from the bottom of the tree.
“Move!” the cougar commanded as it ran off. “It’s going to fall.”
The burning tree, tall enough to touch the sky, was falling towards him. His legs wouldn’t move. He threw his arms across his face and screamed . . .