||Hard Shell Word Factory
||Nov 3 2000
Peter, staying with his aunt and uncle while his stepfather is away on business, is instantly plunged into a chain of bizarre, frightening and apparently unconnected events that can’t possibly have anything to do with an ordinary, somewhat solitary boy like him. But is Peter really so ordinary? Is his new-found uncle as ordinary as he appears? A finalist in the Dream Realm Awards, now available from Hard Shell Word Factory
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Fantasy for Children & Young Adults
Please see my web site page for the first chapter of this book.
In the moonlight the tall gabled house looked even more sinister than it had in daylight. The blue light hovered over a door in the basement.
The door slowly opened--and there stood the man who had said he was a retired scientist.
"Come in, greenhorn."
He scrutinised Peter closely.
"Yes, I'm sure you're The One. When I took you to my cave that day and something intervened before my master could assess you I was sure of it. Only The One could have given all that trouble. ... That uncle of yours ... for all his so-called wisdom he's nothing but a fool." He regarded Peter thoughtfully. "I wonder ..." he said softly, as though to himself.
Peter suddenly felt as though something touched his brain--something loathsome and slimy.
When Peter comes to stay with his dead mother's twin sister and her husband while his stepfather is away on business, he is immediately plunged into a chain of frightening and bizarre events that can't possibly have anything to do with him--an ordinary, somewhat solitary boy. But then, is he really so ordinary? Is his new-found uncle as ordinary as he at first appears? As for the retired scientist, what ordinary man has the type of power he wields?
Review from Scribes World, to be published on 15 July 2001
Peter FitzArthur goes to visit his dead mother's sister in New Zealand shortly before his thirteenth birthday and discovers his uncle is not exactly what he appears to be, which is just very ordinary. Very ordinary can disguise some extraordinary facts--such as historical legends are born again and again, evil continues as does good, and magic is very real--and quests to save the world are still in the offing but it takes a brave boy to shoulder the burden of greatness.
Beyond doubt, Ms. Barker pens a fine, exciting tale. Grounded in the Merlin/Arthur myths but adding new layers, new twists, and a new take on the once and future king concept. The tale is plot driven, the characters are well realized, and the setting is firmly in place--and it is with the setting that I have my only quibble. I had my grandson, an avid Harry Potter fan who is almost eleven, read the beginning of THE OBSIDIAN QUEST and he was instantly sidetracked by the fact that it was set very near Christmas and it was summer. We spent some time talking about the seasonal differences in the two hemispheres--which took him completely out of the book. It was a great learning experience for him--one that carried over into learning more about the differences in metric measurements (used in the book) and what he uses in everyday life. It came down to this: I loved the book far more than my grandson did, but by reading it together we had a great afternoon and had some incredible interaction. I would highly recommend this book to older readers, King Arthur and/or fantasy fans, and grandmothers would enjoy a journey of discovery with their grandchildren.
Reviewer: Patricia White
Author's Note: There is one error in this review: Peter is already in New Zealand. To visit his aunt he merely has to travel from New Zealand's capital city, Wellington, up to Auckland.
For more reviews, see my reviews page at http://lbarker.orcon.net.nz/reviews.html
Review of The Obsidian Quest by Christine Spindler for E-books for kids at http://www.dreamwater.com/spindler
The Obsidian Quest Book 1 of Quest for Earthlight trilogy. by Laraine Anne Barker The Obsidian Quest is set in New Zealand. Peter FitzArthur, a thirteen-year-old, kind-hearted boy, but also a bit of a loner, has to stay with his dead mother's twin sister and her husband for a while, because his stepfather is overseas. Pete is impressed by Uncle Paul, whom he meets for the first time. Even Dreyfus, Peter's German shepherd, seems to feel Paul's outworldly strength.
When scary, unexplainable incidents happen, Peter discovers that Uncle Paul is not just an ordinary man. As old myths come to life and good and evil powers collide, Pete is faced with a frightening responsibility: is he brave enough to save the world?
Laraine Anne Barker breathes new life into old legends. She sends her amiable central character, Peter, on a quest for the Obsidian Orb and fills every page with dangerous adventures and startling surprises. Her style is excellent, her characters bristle with life. What do you feel when you hear the names Arthur, Merlin and Nostradamus? Are you intrigued by the myths surrounding them? Then The Obsidian Quest is a must read for you. Like me, you'll be eagerly waiting for the second book in this unique trilogy.
Review of The Obsidian Quest by Rita Hestand of Willy's World at http://www.crosswinds.net/~willysworld/Reviews.htm
While staying with an Aunt and Uncle, Peter, a thirteen year old, discovers more than his share of adventure and mayhem. Almost from the moment he arrives, he is cast into another world where wizards, ghosts and demons prey upon the Chosen few.
Thrown into a world where good and evil clash and only one is the victor, Peter is amazed to find his own Uncle in the role of Merlin, and his dog Dreyfus is his protector. To war against Cerebus, the dog that guards the gates of hell, and Sujad. He is called from the present by Nostradamus, and Merlin as the Chosen One of the Earthlight.
The quest for the Obsidian Orb hurls Peter and many others into a world where he can not only see the dark side, but experience it first hand.
From falling into a cave, to visiting the actual Stonehenge, Peter is whisked through a dark future and past with his Uncle Paul, or is he Merlin. He is of the chosen and it will be his duty to fight the evil before it destroys earth.
Laraine Anne Barker brings us a tale that is loaded with one adventure after another, but what makes this story so different is how she has managed to personify good and evil and mirror image the likeness to Biblical comparison. From her Peter, John and James, to her Judas Iscariot. Such a deep meaning is embedded in this adventurous tale than one wonders if this is not the Revelation come alive.
At first glance this book seems to be merely another fantasy of adventure for a young teen on vacation. However, on closer examination we see far more in the telling than adventure. Ms Barker delves into the very soul of her hero and pits its purity against the evil one. One must admire her labor. Obsidian Quest is no ordinary mystery, or fantasy. It lodges within its pages a tale of revelation and jubilation. One must experience this book. I recommend it for not only YA but adults as well. It reaches above the ordinary mind.
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