When Sara was newborn her parents left her at the doorstep at Mr. and Mrs. Schneider’s house.
When Sara was ten she discovered she was telekinetic. She began to move stuff around when she got angry just by her will alone.
When Sara was twelve her real parents came for her and took her with them to live like the Gypsy that she was – or Romani as they like to call themselves. They told her she was going to fulfill a prophesy. That it was once said that out of the Romani people the greatest sorceress who had ever lived would be born. When Sara was thirteen she had a baby brother and when she was fourteen he got very sick with a strange illness. To save her baby-brother Sara sets off on a quest to find his cure – well knowing that it will cost her dearly. Soon Sara finds herself going through the Singing Cave, crossing Wild Witches Valley, talking to a ten foot giant snail, rescuing the Beads of Souls from the Hell-hounds, escaping a spell in Vamila, the Forest of Vanity, visiting the king at the City of Lights before she finally reaches the Black Castle where she is told the Eye of the Crystal Ball can tell her how to cure her brother’s strange illness.
But nothing is free in this world - and as Sara soon will know - everything has a price.
The Eye of the Crystal Ball is a MG fantasy recommended for both children and adults.
THE GIRL IN THE BASKET
They came in the middle of the night. It was during the war, the Second World War that is, and therefore they had to travel in the dark in order not to be seen. It was somewhere in the mountains of southern Germany called Bayern in a small town called Lindenmühle not far from the border to Austria.
No one in the nice street of Reidenburgerstrasse would ever have imagined such a thing happening in their part of town, and especially not the couple in number sixteen.
Mr. and Mrs. Schneider were sound asleep in their house and certainly not suspecting anyone to approach their door in the middle of the night placing a basket with a little baby girl sleeping in it on their doorstep. And certainly they would never imagine someone would leave her there for them to find with only a small note as explanation saying:
Her name is Sara, please take good care of her.
Lindenmühle was a very small town with only three hundred twenty-one inhabitants and indeed a place where news would travel faster than the speed of light (especially if that chubby lady, Mrs. Müller, in number thirteen got a hold of it). Mr. and Mrs. Schneider knew that and they always kept their secrets to themselves. Not that they had many, but they did have one they never shared with anyone on the street.
They wanted so badly to have a child, but hadn’t succeeded yet. Not that there was anything wrong with any of them, their doctor assured.
“Maybe it is just the war,” he said.
So he suggested they wait until the war was over—which he meant was not going to be long. Now they had waited for three years and the war had no end in sight.
They both longed for a child that seemed to never come, both of them in very different ways. She would talk about it constantly while he would listen as the husband and caretaker he was, but he would never utter a word or complain himself. He was simply not brought up that way. It was not suitable for a man of his position.
Instead, he had his own little ritual. Every morning before Mr. Schneider went off to work at the train station in Lindenmühle he would stop for exactly four and a half minutes at the door leading into the room that was meant for their future baby. He would open the door and look at the empty crib and the rocking chair in the corner and he would imagine his baby lying in the crib or his wife sitting in the rocking chair, singing for the baby until it fell asleep.
He would then stuff his pipe and light it and nod a little to himself while thinking:
“Some day … some day soon.”
So it went on every morning for three years. While the world was fighting outside, he kept the dream alive inside.
And so it was this particular morning, too, when he woke up and prepared himself to go off to work. He washed his face, trimmed the mustache with a pair of scissors, put on his uniform, looked at the clock in the small pocket in his vest and then peeked into the nursery—while stuffing the pipe—before he went downstairs for his morning coffee and toasted bread. Normally, that is before the war, he would get a sausage and even maybe some bacon to go with the toast, but these days he was satisfied just to get some real bread and—well not real coffee—but something that was nearly as good.
He kissed his wife as always, put on the uniform jacket, looked at his watch a second time, because a train station manager is always on time, and then he put the pipe back in his mouth and opened the beautiful hand-carved wooden door that separated them from the outside world and its madness.
And there it was.
A small, braided basket right in front of his feet. The good Mr. Schneider could hardly believe his eyes. But since his wife had seen it too, it had to be true. Now, who would leave a big nice basket like that in these days when it was hard to get anything at all? he thought to himself while taking the pipe out of his mouth.
The basket seemed to have a big blanket inside of it.
“Look there is a letter,” Mrs. Schneider said and kneeled beside the basket to get the small envelope.
“Maybe it is a gift from someone.”
She read it out loud for them both.
“Her name is Sara …?”
Mr. and Mrs. Schneider looked at each other with great confusion. Now what was all this? Could it be?
Carefully, Mrs. Schneider lifted some of the blanket and the most beautiful sight met her. That of a sleeping baby girl only, three weeks old. Her hair was black as the night and her skin soft and smooth. She was breathing heavily and smiling in her sleep.
“Let me see,” Mr. Schneider said and looked under the blanket as well. It was hard to tell exactly what he felt when he saw the little face but that was always difficult to know with him. What he felt. That was what Mrs. Schneider had come to learn over the years. He didn’t talk much and when he did it was mostly about trains and whether they were on time or not.
But this time she knew they felt the same thing. She recognized it in his eyes. It was instant love for this little girl that someone had left for them as a gift. As a true blessing in the middle of the worst of times.
“Hurry. Let’s take the basket inside before someone sees it,” Mr. Schneider said, and Mrs. Schneider never thought about it twice.
Inside the house they unpacked the little girl and Mr. Schneider hid the blanket, basket and letter in the attic so no one would find it.
Then they put her in the crib.
Finally, they both thought as they held each other and stared at her until she woke up, finally someone was sleeping in the crib.
That day they didn’t think at all of the war or going to work or even about trains. They just held Sara in their arms and took turns at feeding her the bottle and tickling her tummy.
That day for the first time in his life, Mr. Schneider was late for work.
Over the next twelve years, Sara grew up to be a young girl. She wasn’t exactly the prettiest of the girls in the neighborhood with her thick messy and curly black hair that always fell down in her forehead and covered her eyes (even though her mom always tied it nicely on the top of her head every morning, she would always come home from school with it like that) and maybe she wasn’t the most well-behaved either.
But Sara did have a good heart to her, her mother kept saying, when the neighbors complained about her climbing their trees, stealing their apples or destroying their rosebushes.
The teachers didn’t know what to do with her, either. She always seemed to get into trouble with the other kids and she had a hard time sitting still during classes. Then one day a teacher gave her a book.
“Try and read this,” she said, and suddenly Sara sat still for hours. She didn’t say a word to anyone until she was done with the book. Then she asked for another one, and the teacher gave her a new one.
As the years went by, she read more and more. Her teachers encouraged her to do so. That way she wouldn’t get in trouble and then they wouldn’t get disturbed trying to teach the other and more well-mannered students.
But even though Sara meant a lot of headaches for Mr. and Mrs. Schneider, they still looked at her as their pride.
The neighbors never asked any questions as to where Sara suddenly came from, but there was a lot of talking about it over the picket fences when Mr. and Mrs. Schneider were not around to hear. The little tousled black-haired, brown-eyed girl didn’t seem to fit in anywhere in the nice Reidenburgerstrasse.
Only the nosy Mrs. Müller occasionally asked some questions. She would wonder how come the little girl’s skin seemed much darker than her parents’, how she got her black hair and dark brown eyes since her parents where both so very blond and blue-eyed. But Sara never detected that there could be anything but mere curiosity behind it, and she just smiled and answered the best she could.
“I take after my grandmother, my mother always says.”
The nosy Mrs. Müller would nod and look at Sara with great suspicion since in those times during that war, being dark skinned was not a good thing.
Finally the war ended and all the hatred and fighting was over. So Mr. and Mrs. Schneider went on and did as the good doctor once had told them to do. They tried for another baby. A year later, to everyone's surprise, the tiny Mrs. Schneider didn’t just give birth to one child, she had triplets.
So Sara’s life changed dramatically. Her mother was busy feeding all the babies and trying to get them to fall asleep, and to Sara it seemed as there was always someone crying in the house, even at night. If it wasn’t one of the three babies, Mrs. Schneider would be the one sitting in the rocking chair crying.
And Sara was always in the way of her parents now. So she started to take care of herself. She would fix herself dinner and breakfast, and she was even taking care of her father when he came home tired after working double shifts at the train station in order to make enough money to feed the rapidly growing family.
“These are hard times, no one is making enough money to get by these days,” he would say to her as if she understood. Then he would sigh deeply at the sound of another baby crying, take off his shoes and go sit in the living room smoking his pipe and grumble.
And Sara kept wondering what happened to them. They never talked to each other anymore, and they certainly didn’t talk to her.
At school things changed as well. When Sara turned ten, things started to happen to her. Not to her body or anything like that, but around her. Stuff would move around or even fall from a table.
But it only seemed to happen when she got mad. Like really mad. Like when someone in her class teased her. And they started doing that a lot the next couple of years since they discovered what would happen. It made it more fun. But they were clever and only did it when the teachers were not looking.
Worst of them all was Gertrud Wagner.
Sara’s favorite thing was to read. She always had her nose in a book and could finish several of them during a week. And Gertrud with her pack of female wolves—as Sara liked to call them—one day took a book from her.
“What'cha reading?” she said, and Sara tried to stay calm until they started pushing her and hiding her book from her while chanting and singing. Sara had a big temper so it didn’t take them long to get her upset enough.
“Jinx … jinx … jinx.”
They called her “The jinx” because of what always happened when she got mad. Accidents that no one could explain. Things falling without anyone touching them.
“Jinx … jinx … jinx.”
What no one knew, including herself, of course, was that Sara was telekinetic. She had the ability to move objects by effort of her will alone. That meant she could move things with her mind without touching them. But since Sara wasn’t aware of this talent of hers yet, she had no control over it. And she had no control over her temper, either.
So when her classmates yelled at her and took her book, things started flying around. Books, papers, pencils would fly in the air and chairs would move around on the floor. So when the teacher came back, the classroom was an utter mess and everyone told him that Sara did it. Which was the truth, of course, but there is always more than one side to a story like that.
Sara knew that but unfortunately her teacher didn’t. So she got punished. One hundred strokes across her fingers with a stick. Being a very sensitive man, the teacher never liked to punish his student. But back then that was what they had to do.
“I am so sorry,” he said between every stroke. “But I have to set an example for the others.”
He said it over and over again as the strokes fell across her fingers and burned their way into her little innocent heart and poisoned it with that thirst for revenge that is so damaging for it. She didn’t feel any anger towards her teacher for doing what he did. He didn’t know better she kept telling herself.
But she did feel anger towards Gertrud, and one day she followed Gertrud as she went home from school. When Gertrud was alone in the street, Sara took out her books and let them fly high in the air like birds in the sky. For the first time, Sara deliberately made something move by the will of her mind. She moved them towards Gertrud and they surrounded her like birds attacking from the air. Fifteen of her biggest and heaviest books first circled around Gertrud’s head and then began to dive and almost hit her. Sara kept letting them attack Gertrud until she started screaming and got on her knees begging for Sara to make it stop.
So she did.
Gertrud never teased Sara again. And Sara made a promise to herself, that she would never use her will to move anything again. Not on purpose at least.
It was at that time Sara started wondering if she wasn’t quite like other girls at her age.
Later that same year, she discovered the wind. Whenever the north wind began to blow she would get the strangest feeling inside. She could stand in the schoolyard or walk in the street among other people who wouldn’t notice it, and she would be the only one to stop and smell it. By breathing that wind she would get a strong longing within her body. It sometimes felt like it would crush everything inside of her, like it would devour her from the inside.
It was the longing for distant places, the longing for foreign countries far, far away. And she had to fight the urge to follow the desire deep within her to travel with the wind and let it take her to those exotic places where it came from. This urge grew stronger and stronger for every day that passed by, an urge she wasn’t sure she could keep on resisting for much longer.
Maybe that was why she loved her books so much, because they had the ability to take her away on journeys to strange places and strange worlds. One day she could be a knight in shining armor fighting the dragon to save his beloved, the next she was in the jungle with wild animals surrounding her or the captain of the Flying Dutchman crossing the oceans at the coast of Africa. Or a sheik in the desert, a pilot in her plane crossing the Atlantic for the first time, or even Captain Nemo on Nautilus exploring the undersea world.
And when she didn’t read about it, Sara dreamt about the big wonderful world that was just waiting out there for her to explore.
It didn’t take long for the neighbors, teachers or parents to start wondering about what was happening to her. Her mind seemed always to be drifting in class, the teacher thought. Her look was always distant when she passed them, the neighbors thought. She never said a word to them anymore, her parents thought.
And none of them understood what was going on with her. Neither did she. All Sara knew was that she couldn’t find rest anywhere, she felt the wind calling for her, luring her away from the life she knew so well, tempting her with promises of exotic music, tasteful food, dancing and laughter.
“There must be something better for me out there,” she kept thinking, standing at the cliff next to the village church overlooking the valley.
There was, and she didn’t have to go and look for it.
It came to get her.
A Magical Novel
Want to pick up a book and know that you will enjoy your read? This novel is for you! The plot of the novel is very intricate and the reader will probably not find one like it in any other novel. The characters are all worth reading about, they draw the reader into the novel. The secondary characters tend to be very different, almost magical, in this novel. The reader will enjoy getting to know most of them. Sara herself is a very endearing character with many good, solid qualities that will allow the reader to identify and commiserate with her at times in the novel. The world that Sara travels in is very intriguing and will have the reader turning page after page. The author writes a very good, cohesive novel; the reader will not be confused at all though. The reader will also like the theme of the Romani people, not a typical characteristic to read about in novels. This novel is one of the rare types where a reader may enjoy it be he/she ten or fifty-two.
a brilliant new talent bursts on the scene- not to be missed!!,
"When Sara was newborn her parents left her at the doorstep at Mr. and Mrs. Schneider's house.
When Sara was ten she discovered she was telekinetic. She began to move stuff around when she got angry just by her will alone.
When Sara was twelve her real parents came for her and took her with them to live like the Gypsy that she was - or Romani as they like to call themselves. They told her she was going to fulfill a prophesy. That it was once said that out of the Romani people the greatest sorceress who had ever lived would be born."
An amazingly original plot, The Eye of the Crystal Ball by brilliant writer T.P. Boje is one of those rare reads that once started, it is impossible to put down. The character of Sara is so fine drawn, and haunting that I was stunned by the reality so smoothly mixed with fantasy.
The settings and other characters, not to mention a plotlike no other I have ever encountered make The Eye of the Crystal Ball a winner in every sense. T.P. Boje is a writer to watch, The Eye of the Crystal Ball is one book to savor!!
AN OFFICIAL THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB MUST READ
THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB
Wow! I was completely blown away with this story! It was so much more than I expected after reading the description. I felt like a kid again because this book is full of magical words all combines to make an amazing story. Gypsies, dragons, elves, witches, fortune tellers, unicorns, werewolves, goblins, and much much more. The way this book is written I felt like I was reading a fairy tale. Each chapter was exciting and new, with different characters and descriptions. You can't help but love Sara and her 'friends'. Just a warning...there were quite a few grammatical errors. Places that needed corrected punctuation, words not used in the correct way, and typo's. I just plowed right past them because the story wouldn't let me go. The author is from Denmark so I have a feeling that is part of the reason and I can accept that.
Sara is born to gypsy parents, but with the war going on, she is left upon the doorstep of childless couple Mr. and Mrs. Schnieder. Mr. and Mrs. think their dream of a baby has finally come true! They give Sara a good life, but no matter what she just doesn't fit in and no one understands her. As a result of her being so different, a teacher gives her a book to read. That was all it took...one book and Sara was in love. One day after the war is over Sara's parents show up to take her back and introduce her to the wonderful, magical world they live in. Sara has big shoes to fill as she is prophesied to be the next great sorceress. Just when she is finally starting to feel like she is finally where she belongs, a long comes a baby brother. After he becomes ill, Sara goes on a quest with her friend Manolo to find the eye of the crystal ball to find the way to save him. Along the way, Sara also learns some life lessons about pride, vanity, greed and how to fight the negative and keep the positive in her life and why it is so important. There were ups and downs throughout the journey and many times Sara's strength and values were tested.
"There are many different passions as there are people but Sara's had always been books. If you have never spend whole afternoon forgetting the world around you over a book, forgetting even cold and hunger. if you have never read under the bedclothes with a flashlight, because your father or mother or someone else told it was time to sleep and turned off the light. If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story had come to an end and you had to say goodbye to the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures and ups and downs with, whom you have loved so deeply and hoped and feared with. If such things have never been a part of your life, you probably wouldn't understand what Sara did next."
If you are a fan of YA fantasy adventure books or would like a easy, fun, enjoyable read, adult or child, go ahead and pick this one up. You won't be disappointed. I can't wait to read this to two of my step-daughters (who are 8 and 11)because I know they would love this story.