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Steve Groll

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Beyond the Dead Forest
by Steve Groll   

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Young Adult/Teen

Publisher:  Tate publishing and enterprises ISBN-10:  161566436X Type: 


Copyright:  May 4, 2010 ISBN-13:  9781615664368

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Two friends travel beyond a dead forest and find a dark, mysterious land filled with danger, hardship, odd people and creatures that change their lives forever.

It just appeared one day out of nowhere--a dead forest that the partners had never seen before. Carter and Kat think they know every tree, river, and rock within five miles of their homes, but this section of wood, completely devoid of life, was not supposed to exist. Stepping through a doorway into a bizarre world filled with darkness, terror, and death, they embark on a quest to discover the greatest treasure of all. Aided by a strange old man they called the Guardian, and armed with spiritual weapons, their wits, and a growing arsenal of wisdom, they battle against forces of darkness that are determined to destroy them. Hitch a wild ride with the arrogant Mr. Stewborn with a raving madman in hot pursuit. Come stay awhile in the inescapable People Rule Inn and experience a place where nightmares are real. Travel through the depressing Valley of Shadows, and meet dark creatures you have never imagined. Join Carter and Kat as they venture Beyond the Dead Forest and discover, with our heroes, the unsurpassable riches of wisdom that can empower you to change your life and your world.

 Author and Reader responses to Beyond the Dead Forest:

 Caps provided by reviewers.

My favorite review was on a 5th grade girl's MySpace page: BEYOND THE DEAD FOREST IS THE BEST BOOK EVER!!!!


Author-Alyssa Pierce says: Original, inspiring, and a must-read. 

Author-Kristi Burchfiel says: What a fantastic adventure! ... I will reread this again and again.

Author-Edmond P. DeRoussse says: ...a page turner. I felt as if I was experiencing an Indiana Jones movie. The characters step into one impossible adventure after another, solve each one, only to step into another one more dangerous for them and more exciting for the reader....

Author-David Glenn says: ... an awesome adventure full of unforgettable characters and a plot worthy of the literary masterpieces of old.

Poly Hart says: I have never been a fan of fantasy literature, but I  have to admit that I found Beyond the Dead Forest captivating, exciting and just a lot of fun. I enjoyed how the excitement grew with each new chapter.... I have read it twice and plan to read it again.

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Though Carter could no longer hear the thing outside screaming over the sounds of the storm, he was, however, able to see him with each lightning flash. The sight of him sent a constant stream of fear through the boy. Then suddenly, he saw that the man-thing had stopped screaming. He was looking at Carter and Kat with eyes bulging and face contorted in rage to such a point that it was obvious that nothing human could look so hideous. It caused Carter to take a step back. Then with a last flash of lightning, Carter saw the creature actually ride the lightning bolt back into the sky. After he disappeared, the storm died down quickly. The wind slowed, the rain stopped, and the clouds began to break up.

Professional Reviews

Beyond The Dead Forest
If your local Christian bookstore is anything like ours, the shelves are stocked with books for adults and preschoolers. There is very little in stock for children and teens. Many of the series that are carried are old and dated. Venture into a secular bookstore and you still will not find a good selection of moral writings for youth. Therefore, when the opportunity to review literary works for children and teens presents itself, I am glad to accept.

In this modern day attraction to wizards and vampires, it is difficult to find literature for children and youths that is not filled with graphic violence, sexual innuendo, and sketchy morals. Enter Steve Groll. An ordained minister, Steve has spent forty years working with children and youth. His understanding of what interests children is apparent in his first novel, Beyond The Dead Forest.

Two children, Carter and Kat, set out to explore a dead forest that appeared out of nowhere. It is Carter’s knowledge of the story of building a foundation on good ground rather than sinking sand that saves the children from The Adversary and from their first danger. They meet The Guardian who guides them and offers tools to aid them in their journey. Popping up in one fashion or another, the Guardian is present whenever the children are faced with danger and endure another test. Christian themes and lessons are present throughout the book, but are presented through situational examples. The children face tests which help them to grow in maturity. They learn the golden rule—treat others as you would like to be treated—while hostages at an Inn. The lesson is further solidified when they meet the old man who, because of his greed and poor treatment, was condemned to serve his own servant. The children encounter a witch who demands they make a blood sacrifice to false gods, encounter a situation in which they learn the parable of the narrow path, and meet people who refer to them as the youth from the prophecy. As the story progresses, Carter and Kit learn the consequences of disobeying their instructions as they watch an innocent lamb die, and experience hatred as others realize the two children are different and “not of their world”. The methodology employed by Groll makes the book enjoyable without being preachy or condescending to its target audience yet it effectively teaches the lesson of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and how we are set apart from the world when we are alive in Christ.

Beyond The Dead Forest contains very little narration or background. Rather, the chapters are full of action and adventure with a biblical message. This book would appeal most to the middle school crowd, yet is entertaining for adults as well.

Review by Lyn Sedmina
BellaOnline's Christian Literature Editor

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Reader Reviews for "Beyond the Dead Forest"

Reviewed by David Glenn 11/12/2010
Beyond the Dead Forest is an awesome adventure full of unforgettable characters and a plot worthy of the literary masterpieces of old. The book follows the adventures of the Partners (aka Carter and Kat) who love to go exploring together. They find a dead forest that they knew wasn't there a few days ago (because they know the area around their town like the backs of their hands) and go exploring in it. They then find themselves in another world called Dearth, which is under great suffering because of an evil person known as the Adversary, who keeps trying to kill them. They meet a friendly man called the Guardian, who sends them on a quest to help the people of Dearth discover a treasure so great and valuable the Adversary doesn't want them to have it. Beyond the Dead Forest was more than what I expected. Everywhere they turn they seem to run into someone or something that doesn't have kind deeds on its mind. Carter and Kat must pull together in the realm of Dearth to survive the evil Adversary and fulfill a prophecy. They manage to learn lessons that help them to grow and become better people. Fans of C.S. Lewis and/or Narnia will enjoy this new book.
Reviewed by Ursula Gorman 10/27/2010
Beyond the Dead Forest by Steve Groll draws you in and doesn't let go...Carter and Kat are best friends that know the area in which they live like the back of their hands...that is, until the 'dead forest' appears one day and is unlike anything they've ever seen. On this particular visit, they meet a strange man...and their journey begins. Carter and Kat takes the adventure of their lives that changes everything they've known and has the potential to change their whole lives...and the lives of everyone they come in contact with.
Steve does a wonderful job pulling the reader into the story and lets you experience the journey along with Carter and Kat. You catch yourself trying to make decisions right along with them and wondering if you'd be able to make the 'hard' choices that they do...or if you'd take the easy way out. Beyond the Dead Forest is a lesson in faith, love and unselfishness. The Advesary tries to do all he can to mislead the partners, but they have the ultimate champion, the Guardian...but they have to make the choice on who to follow.
This is one of the best books I've read that explain things about the bible, choices and faith that is aimed at our youth and is great for adults as well! What does it mean to believe, have faith and to make choices, even hard ones, when you are a Christian. There are always choices, but only the right ones will set you free. Reviewed by Ursula Gorman author of Old Acquaintances

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