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||Quercus (Jo Fletcher imprint)
||August 2 2012
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The Fantasy of Frank P Ryan
The Fantasy of Frank P Ryan
This is the Quercus (Jo Fletcher) first edition of Frank P Ryan's epic fantasy novel. It is a top ten epic fantasty bestseller on amazon.co.uk.
Four friends, Alan, Kate, Mark and Mo are drawn to the fabled Irish mountain of Slievenamon, on the summit of which is the Gate of Feimhin. The gate is a doorway to another world, one that has remained closed for centuries, forgotten by all but one man, Padraig, who guards its secrets as have countless generations of his family before him. With Padraig's help they pass through the gate, to enter the enchanted but war-ravaged world of Tir, a land where danger threatens at every turn. The four must learn the use of magic if they are to survive and win; and they had better learn quickly, because their enemy, the Tyrant of the Wastelands, has found them, and he has taken control of the ultimate source of magic on Tir, the legendary Fail.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning, early and quiet, before most people were awake. A special day, so special the fifteen-year-old boy astride his stationary bicycle felt overwhelmed by it. Lately he had often dreamed about it and always it seemed to lead him here, to the tree-shadowed lane outside the twin gates that led into the Doctor’s House! Alan Duval’s excitement centred on a mountain now out of sight but looming ominously in his imagination. Slievenamon was the name of the mountain. Beyond the small Irish town of Clonmel, over its streets and the decaying ramparts of its medieval walls, the mountain soared, shrouded in legend, two thousand, three hundred and sixty eight feet above the horizon. And now on this special morning the mountain beckoned, casting an enchantment on the air like a thickening scent, intoxicating and heavy, so he couldn’t help but be drawn to it even though it chilled the blood in his veins.
The left half of the gates was opening in the high ivy-covered wall. He listened attentively: heard none of the usual creaking. They had oiled the hinges last night, in readiness. He saw the front wheel of her bike roll through, then the flash of her auburn hair, like a warm red flame, and even as his heart began to leap, he saw the excitement in her eyes, the soft green of evening light on the meadow that sloped down onto the far side of the river.
Kathleen Shaunessy lived in the Doctor’s House, with her uncle, Fergal, and his housekeeper, Bridey. Nobody called her Kathleen except her uncle. Everybody else called her Kate.
Alan held her bike while she closed the half gate. Fourteen years old – she wouldn’t be fifteen until November 6 – Kate wore blue jeans, tight-fitting over worn trainers, and her upper body was hidden under a thick white sweater. This early in the morning, even at the close of a particularly hot summer, it would be cold. Over one shoulder she carried a denim backpack, just as he carried one on his back: a change of underwear, toothbrush and toothpaste, sandwiches and fruit. All they needed for a brief adventure.
‘What did you tell Bridey?’
‘I left her a note. Sure, she won’t believe the half of it anyway!’
She spoke with the soft sing-song accent that had so bemused the American youth when he had first arrived in Clonmel, an accent that in Kate he had come to love. Kate was so excited by the mission she didn’t appear to notice his own shakiness. He knew she had crept out through the first floor bathroom window and climbed down the fall-pipe with its convenient bends, as she had many a time before, because if she had left by the door her dog, Darkie, would have barked Bridey awake. He had no need to make furtive arrangements back at the saw-mill since his grandad, Padraig, knew all about it.
Padraig had helped them make their arrangements. But Alan had worried about it all the same, tossing and turning through the night, with his bedroom window open to the cool night air, fitfully sleepless, as his puffy face now testified, and struggling to come to terms with his own fears.
He said, ‘Let’s check out the others. See if they’re ready!’
Kate switched on her mobile, sending the text message:
The answer flashed to her screen within moments and with a shaking hand she held it out for Alan to see:
Only Mark could have thought it through so quickly. Revolting had more than one meaning. It was typical of Mark’s sarcastic humour.
So it was really happening. The excitement no longer bearable, Alan did something he had never done before, something at once shocking and wonderful: he hugged Kate across the lean of the bikes. Then he kissed her on the lips, feeling lost and weightless with the ecstasy of the contact, the quickness of her surprise. He could not have moved a muscle again until Kate, with the same blossoming of friendship into love, kissed him back there in the shadowed lane, the bicycles interlocking like a promise between them.
Now, his heart racing with the implication, he saw the flush invade her face, an expanding tide about the roots of her auburn curls and down into her throat above the sweater, with its monogram opening letter from the Book of Kells.
Wordlessly, they wheeled the bikes around so they faced the town. The road was empty and they cycled side by side, Alan’s jittery legs moving around in their own automatic motion, to the crossroads, with the slaughterhouse on the corner and the memory of animals bellowing in the trucks as they trundled in through the gates and the river tributary soon turning red with their blood. They wheeled right around the corner, picking up speed as they crossed over the first of the old stone bridges and then slowing momentarily at the second bridge, with the steps leading down to the river.
With every turn of the pedals, the Comeragh Mountains loomed closer, their patchwork of green and yellow fields studded with white-washed farm cottages, and, below them, extending southwards and westwards, the forests that fed Padraig’s saw-mill. They rode on into the sunrise in silence. All of a sudden, time was running away with them. And there was the scary feeling that it might never slow back to normal again.
Glenda Bixler Review of The Snowmelt River
I simply cannot begin to give you an adequate overview of The Snowmelt River! It is, for me, undoubtedly the best fantasy novel I've ever read. From the front cover through to the back, Frank P. Ryan has created an epic adventure that just does not stop ...
Kathleen Shaunessy had been Alan's first friend when he arrived at his grandfather's home and they soon became closer. Mark and Mo Grimstone are the other two children, who had been adopted, were not really from the same family and hated their stepparents-let's just say readers will too... Without telling any of the details, soon the four are in a different world and when they wake up they meet Granny Dew...This is one cool lady, or at least I think she is a lady; I'll just add, think spiders... One of the very cool non-human characters is the Temple Ship, shown on the front cover. The ship was just as the name implied, it was the place of worship and had been there since before any of those alive now had lived; it was deteriorated and not seaworthy, and it was felt that they would have to use just their smaller fishing craft in order to leave. Mark became most intimately involved and learned to love the ship; he was at the wheel most of the time, at one time in an amazing way! In fact, soon it appeared he was giving life back to the ship-for as they proceeded to set sail, the old parts and the body were renewed, new sails formed! That's my one big example of the magic that is happening throughout this book-too much and too cool to share outside of the storyline as it actually occurs.
And wait until you hear the Song of the River! This book is a powerful, outstanding book, dare I say far superior than Harry Potter? It's true, in my opinion! I'm already looking forward to the next book and that doesn't happen often for me. Given my age, I'd have to say the book is suitable for ages 9 to 99! A must-read for fantasy lovers.
Review of The Snowmelt River by Pamela Luke, Fantasy Book Review
Ryan is inventive, the races he peoples his strange world with are not the run of the mill elves and orcs and the magic is more of a spiritual nature than the magic of other fantasy novels I've read...
The enemy is a faceless presence, alien to the land of Tir, his forces are savage and vicious for the sake of it. Considering that our protagonists are children; such savagery is surprisingly brutal as some of them experience it first hand or are witness to it. The author on his website mentions Tolkien, Pullman, C.S. Lewis and Gaiman when he speaks about fantasy, here he has drawn elements that are reminiscent of all these authors and has produced a book that takes us on an fast-paced, action-packed and truly fantastical journey along the Snowmelt River. I would be willing to suspend my disbelief longer to continue the journey as there is more of this tale to be told.
Epic Fantasy - Review of The Snowmelt River by Shelley Marsden, The Irish World
Frank P Ryan returns to the realms of fantasy with his latest work of fiction, except this time he's exploring the world of teenage/adult fantasy rather than purely adult fantasy.
It's been a long labor of love, partly because Ryan has been penning several books in the series simultaneously, butt utterly worth the wait. His main characters are brilliantly depicted, as are the weird and wonderful adventures they embark on - it's hard to imagine either teen or adult getting bored by this incredible book. The cover artwork by renowned artist, Mark Salwowski, is equally impressive - the illustrator has also drawn a series of vignettes of the entertaining characters that people the fantasy series, including Granny Dew, Aine, the Kyra of the Shee, Qwenqwo Cuatzel, Garg warriors and the Temple Ship.
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