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Anthony E. Southby

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Green Planet Under Fire
by Anthony E. Southby   

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Category: 

Young Adult/Teen

Publisher:  Melrose Books ISBN-10:  1907040870 Type: 
Pages: 

208

Copyright:  April 11, 2011 ISBN-13:  9781907040870
Fiction

The second book in the series is a collection of interesting and bizarre concepts that will thrill you in your chair. An epic story of extreme courage and danger. A group of four teenagers take a trip with Chimzen the wizard to Green Planet, which is located in a parallel universe. Their goal is to return an evil wizard to his home, but things are far more complicated than they seem. With a series of unusual happenings like luminous blue schoolboys, armies of Indian Plants, dozens of Spincrick spiders and troops of double-ding-dong bashers. Then let us not forget the most powerful of them all, twelve wizards in one staff.

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Green Planet Under Fire
Green Planet Website

Almost a year has passed and Frank and Philip are summoned by the Malco trio to come and meet with Chimzen the wizard. The teenagers are followed by their classroom peers, Robert and Emma without them being aware of it.

Chimzen eagerly awaits their arrival. He reveals to them using his clever magic that Mathias has been taken to Green Planet by his evil brother Mathick. Much to Chimzen’s dismay he discovers that Emma and Robert are waiting outside below his tree house. Emma is a compulsive liar and won’t stop talking nonsense from the moment she arrives. Robert’s only downfall is that he really loves his food.

Chimzen agrees to take the entire group to Green Planet to fetch Mathias with the belief that everything is quite safe there now that Azor has been defeated. Little do they know, Azor is back to her wicked flower fairy self, thanks to the help of Mathick the druid.

The mission proves to be a rather daunting affair with Azor attacking the group with full force. The potent Malco trio do their best to serve and protect, but Azor’s evil acorn goblin army have whispered evil back into creation.

As the Malco board cruises through the air with its crew Emma is captured by Mathick with the aid of his magic flying barstool. From there onwards things go from bad to worse as the group faces a tremendous onslaught from the enemy in the form of potent firing dragon pods, double-ding-bashers, Indian plants, and armies of Spincrick spiders.

Green Planet Under Fire is an epic story of dangerous adventure, bright luminous blue schoolboys, and a potent magic staff consisting of twelve wizards. And what would the outcome be if such power fell into the wrong hands?


Excerpt

After everyone had been teleported safely to the ground below the cabin, Robert, Emma and Patroux gazed at the twelve stones in wonder.
‘I see you have all the wizard stones here,’ Patroux said in surprise.
‘We didn’t have much of a choice,’ Philip said.
Frank and Philip excitedly told everyone what had happened to them at Barden’s place, and they all listened on in amazement.
‘And what is the telescope for?’ Robert asked.
‘Well, that was kind of also part of the package,’ Philip said. ‘But we thought Patroux might like it for star gazing. I believe it is very powerful. That evil man in Bell Town was using it during the day, so I guess it’s magic.’
‘Thank you so much, boys,’ Patroux said, with a big smile of appreciation. ‘That will prove to be most useful.’
‘So, what do you think we must do with these stones, Patroux?’ Frank asked.
‘To be quite honest, I have no idea, Frank.’
‘What if it’s some kind of puzzle, Sir,’ Robert suggested.
Philip sat next to the pile of stones and made an attempt at placing the pieces together, but he had no idea of what he was doing, and nothing seemed compatible.
‘I know what to do,’ Emma suddenly chirped.
‘Yeah right, you do, Emma,’ Frank snapped, standing in front of her. ‘Why don’t you go and grow some more in a corner somewhere, liar?’
‘Now now, Frank, there is no need to be ugly,’ Patroux said. ‘Let the poor child have her say, for heaven’s sake.’
Emma shuffled closer towards the stones.
‘My mother knows a great deal about precious stones,’ she began.
‘Here we go again,’ Frank muttered.
‘These are birthstones,’ Emma said. ‘They are connected together, running from January to December. January is Garnet, February is Amethyst, March is Bloodstone, April is Diamond, May is Emerald, June is Pearl, July is Ruby, August is Sardonyx, September is Sapphire, October is Opal, November is Topaz, and December is Turquoise. Now, what I believe is that the stones need to be placed in order of month, to be effectively combined.’
Frank looked at Emma, quite stunned. He could not believe the knowledge that she possessed about the stones, and there were no extra leaves sprouting from her to say she was telling more lies either. He decided from that moment on to rather keep his mouth shut.

Emma could barely move her limbs, so she asked Philip if he could help her. She pointed out to him what each stone looked like and in what order they should be connected together.
Philip carefully connected the January birthstone with the February birthstone, and to his absolute surprise, the two stones locked into each other perfectly, and glowed brightly.
‘Wow, that is amazing!’ everyone cried out together.
Next she showed him March. The first six stones had a round elongated shape, and locked together to form some kind of a stem. The final six pieces were more round and chunky in shape, and they pieced together to form an oval shaped handle. As Philip placed the final piece in place the object lit up with a tremendous golden glow. Philip dropped it to the ground in fright, and it magically hovered a couple of feet from the ground.
The completed item was about five feet long and was none other than a wizard’s staff. It looked quite fascinating, with several colours of precious stone all locked into each other like a multi-coloured puzzle.
Robert walked up to it in absolute fascination. Suddenly the powerful staff floated across to him. It was drawn to his energy, drawn to his deepest and darkest desires and fantasies.
Robert grabbed hold of the potent staff and absolutely shook under the weight of its magnificent power. He took one look at Emma and suddenly she shed all of her leaves as though she was passing through autumn in a moment of time. The next second her woven branches shrivelled up and withered away. Her face cleared up completely of leaves and her blonde hair grew back, only much longer this time.
In a flash of light she was wearing a stunning red dress with black patent leather shoes, and her lips were coated with cherry red lipstick.
Robert’s grubby school uniform suddenly disappeared as well, and the next moment he was dressed up formally in a black suit, white shirt and a bowtie. He had a large red rose in his pocket and he handed it to Emma. She grabbed the rose, kissed him passionately on the lips, and embraced him firmly. Emma was drawn to Robert like an electro-magnet to a fridge door; he went from classroom moron to knight in shining armour. She suddenly found him absolutely irresistible.
Robert was in control of the magnificent power this time, and he looked forward with confidence. He imagined a long river extending down the valley that flowed with thick chocolate sauce. Gallons and gallons of dripping chocolate sauce.
In an instant his wish was granted and the valley opened up into a wide gorge which was filled to the brim with thick flowing chocolate.

Suddenly, over the river of chocolate a massive bridge that towered nearly a hundred yards up into the sky appeared. It was built from a combination of black, brown and white chocolate. The cement used to keep it together was a combination of caramel sauce, with a thick oozing condensed milk.
Robert was smiling broadly; this was all a dream come true for him. Frank and Philip looked pale as they watched Robert in charge of so much power. It may have seemed harmless to Robert, but he could cause great devastation having such a tremendous force at his fingertips.
Suddenly a table, several yards long, appeared behind Robert. It was laid with a long white table cloth, and an incredible amount of food – piles of bacon, eggs, roasts, sausages, puddings, vegetables, fruit, cool drinks, pancakes, and ice cream. It was the spread of a lifetime, and represented Robert’s number one priority in life, food.
Patroux quickly grabbed the amazing staff from Robert before he could cause any harm. Robert refused to let it go though; he fought Patroux with all his might.
‘Just leave me alone, man!’ Robert moaned, as though somebody was trying to steal his new toy. ‘You can have a turn just now, Patroux!’
‘That staff can be very dangerous, young man. Give it to me this instant!’
The Malco trio noted the seriousness of the situation, knowing that Robert could get completely out of control as he was just a boy. Zen tapped him on the head sharply, and he immediately released the staff in pain.
Patroux held on to the magic staff with both hands and immediately felt the adrenaline surge through his body. He was mature and strong though and he managed to control the intensity of the potent staff to a larger degree.
Suddenly, Robert’s enormous chocolate river dried up and turned to sand. Then his dripping chocolate bridge, which was already melting in the fierce sunlight, disappeared into thin air.
‘Oh no, Patroux, do you have to be such a spoil sport?’ Robert moaned. ‘You could have at least let me have a taste first.’
Then something unusual happened; the sky suddenly went dark, and turned red. The children stepped back in fright. Then in an instant the sky returned to normal, and the daylight returned. Patroux had taken a peek through the incredible magic telescope earlier on and had discovered that there were clusters of meteors heading towards Floran’s atmosphere that were about to cause mass destruction on the planet. Patroux had seen to it that the surrounding atmosphere was cleared of all objects several miles into the solar system.



Professional Reviews

Melrose Books
So how’s the sequel? There are three ways a sequel to such a richly imagined novel can go. Often it turns out that the author has used up all his or her good ideas on the first episode, and the sequel just recycles old material. Alternatively, the sequel may be as good as the opener. The third, and by far the rarest alternative is where the author not only equals but improves upon an impressive first effort. Happily, that is the case with Green Planet Under Fire. Anthony E. Southby has developed a greater confidence in his plotting and narrative structuring, and handles characters with a greater sense of assured ease. These honed skills allow for a more complex story, which is filled in with even more richly inventive, weird and vivid detail.

The sequel picks up where that story ended. Frank and Philip are back at school, Chimzen is back in his forest, and the wicked Mathias, in impotent monkey form, is under his supervision. But peace can never last long in this kind of world. With help from his equally evil brother Mathick, Mathias escapes to Floran in search of the magic Frego flower which can turn him back into a human. (Mathick is a new character, briefly mentioned in the first novel, a weird delight in tattoos who rides a flying barstool, and underneath his brutal appearance is ‘greedy, deceitful and a really big baby’.) In distress, Chimzen sends his Malco trio (three sentient spherical entities capable of teleportation) to fetch Philip and Frank from school.

The adventure that gets under way is a nice blend of familiar features (such as Mathias’s mission, which is a mirror-image of the situation that got the first novel going) and new invention, as a good sequel should be.

Although the plotting is more complicated than in the first novel, the principal selling point remains the author’s huge and vivid imagination, which fills in the structure with a wonderful, intoxicating intensity of detail and humour.

In conclusion, Anthony E. Southby has exceeded expectations, developing new strengths as a storyteller, and showing that he is writing with capacious reserves of imaginative power. The Green Planet setting shows every sign of developing a sustained series of adventures. I look forward to seeing the next instalment.




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