This is a special post I do once a month to highlight a book I reviewed some time ago, but never actually featured on my blog. Because this is an author blog and not a book blog, I don’t always feature all the books I read. Like all good and dedicated fans of the written word, I do my part and leave reviews on Goodreads.com, Amazon.com, and sometimes other places, but don’t always bring attention to what I’m reading, unless you follow me onYouTube… hint, hint, wink wink 😉 In any case, please enjoy this review of a book I read at some point in my life.
Title: Torn from Troy
Series: Odyssey of a Slave #1
Author: Patrick Bowman
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Mythology
Pages: Audio Download (199)
Reading Level: Teen
Content: PG-13 (violence, adult situations and content, oppression)
It doesn’t take long for the action of this story to pick up, none the less, I had trouble getting into it. I received a free audio version of this book from a summer reading program I signed up for and was determined the give the book a fair shot. I’m glad I did. The overall story and lasting impression was good. It’s a different spin on an ageless tale and I’m glad I finished the first installment.
After the fires of the Trojan War have burned out, Alexi, a 15-year-old Trojan is taken as a slave by the Greeks and sent abroad to serve them on their journey because he just happens to speak Greek. The typical tale of the Odyssey is there in the background of this story, but all the vantage points are skewed. The great Grecian heroes are perceived as dirty barbaric oppressors and poor Alexi is caught between doing what must be done to survive or deciding whether or not there’s any point to trying to escape. With dangers lurking around every corner, path, and even wave, being a slave to the Greek armada might just be the safest place for him, if they don’t kill him first.
For me, this story is interesting enough to warrant me reading the next book, but then I do have a thing for finishing what I’ve started. I think this adventure will greatly appeal to the younger readers it’s targeted to, especially since many of them may not be as familiar with the original story as I am.
I’d recommend this to pre-teen and teen readers as well as anyone who likes new takes on old myths.
So, I’m on vacation and totally forgot to schedule this post. Also, I started working on it a few days ago and then forgot about it being too busy celebrating birthday month and working on a new blog project. This piece is unfinished and unpolished. My plan is to turn the segments into journal entries, but as you can see, I have a long way to go.
Well, all in all, I don’t think this is my worst work, but it shouldn’t be too bad. I look forward to seeing the other entries and thank Denise Covey and Yolanda Renée for yet, another, great challenge.
~ Unknown Title
Figie’s all the time going on about things as if he knows what he’s saying, but everyone knows he just hears things and repeats’em. I guess this time around, Figie heard something that no one wanted him to go around repeat’n.
So, here we are, running for our lives. Well, he’s running for his life and I’m trying to help’em, but as soon as others realize I’m help’n em, I’ll too be on the run. Been traveling by night and hold’n up during the day. Too many folks round here so dependent on solar power that life pretty much comes to a standstill come night fall. Sure folks use lunar power a bit, but none bother much to go out when everything inside is all lit up like it’s still daytime.
I hoarded a bunch of portable recharging batteries a few years back in case I ever decided to leave town and do some adventure walk’n. Folks just don’t adventure walk like they used to. I member people laughing at me for wasting space on old tech that probably wouldn’t work, but who’s laugh’n now?
I’m pretty much doing everything on my own to keep me and Figie alive. He’s a complete wreck; shake’n and twitch’n all the time. Spect’n someone to come punch’n out of the dark and kill’em in his tracks. Crazy thing is, after explain’n the situation, Figie hasn’t said another word. I have no idea what he heard that’s got folks com’n after’em.
Soon well be reach’n Pillar Peak. I figure, we could hold up there for a good while. One way up, no way down, and too cold for most to live. With us charging our batteries during the day and keeping a fire going all the time, we should be able to get by.
Food shouldn’t be a problem wit the way the fowls dip and dive all around. Most times you can’t even see the exact point of Pillar Peak ‘cause of all the swarm’n fowl. Wit the collapsible dome we been using for shelter and my skills with a sling, we’ll be just fine for a while.
Well, it’s been a full Lunar since we bunkered at Pillar Peak and not a soul’s come look’n for us. I’m thinking maybe Figie’s done lost it. It was fun for a while. Got to go on that adventure walk I always been talk’n bout, but now what. Just catch’n fowl, keep’n the fire, and sleep’n. Tonight Figie’s gonna tell me what this is all about or I’m break’n camp and head’n back wit or wit out’em.
Holy walk’n spirits are we in a terrible mash. No one’s come look’n yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Stupid Figie, hang’n around gathering other folks knowledge instead of learn’n his own. What a fool. To think he once had me believe’n you didn’t need to bother wit read’n and learn’n if you just pay attention to other folk. “Other folk,” he’d say, “they’ll teach ya e’er thing ya need to know, if ya just listen and be patient.” So, what happens when you learn something you don’t want to know… I’ll tell ya. You run for your life.
Stupid Figie. Hanging around the High Lord Scholars, all the time trying to sound smarter than anybody would believe him to be, found out where the Bridge is. Heck, he found out that it’s actually real. I mean, no one goes looking for the Bridge no matter how much wonder and power might be instore, ‘cause no one actually thinks it’s real. But foo on me, it’s real and Figie knows where it is. And they know he knows.
Now I’m twitch’n day and night just like Figie. He’s at least come back to his senses a bit and his help’n out. We’re alternating sentry duties. I’m still hunting all the grub, but he’s cook’n it and clean’n up after. Don’t really matter. Our nerves are so on edge, every pound we put on, we shake off in nerves. We won’t make it to the frost season; not up here. We gonna have to leave, but that’ll probably get us caught and killed. Seems no matter what we do or don’t do, we’re head’n to the Endless Ferry.
Greetings readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors and welcome to The ToiBox of Words. I’m your host Toi Thomas, author of Eternal Curse, and today I’m sharing a special interview with author, Michael E. Dellert, about his fiction book entitled, The Wedding of Eithne. Enjoy!
Where did the idea for The Wedding of Eithne come from?
“The Wedding of Eithne” (and my books before it) have their origin in the first complete book that I ever wrote. In rewriting that book, I created a “Cuts” file as a place to dump a lot of back-story and exposition that was superfluous to that story. The “Cuts” file eventually came to some 191 pages of good story ideas in their own right. So in a sense The Wedding of Eithne is the last of a series of “prequels” to a book I’m still polishing for publication.
How did the title of this book come about?
For this book, I wanted a simple functional title that linked well with the last book in the series, since this was a continuation of that story from a new perspective.
I also wanted something that spoke to the particular story question: Will the Lady Eithne actually get married after everything that’s happened in the series to date, and what obstacles will come between her and the final decision to accept or reject the arranged marriage of the title?
What genre is this book and why did you choose to make it so?
“The Wedding of Eithne” is primarily a heroic fantasy novel, like the other works in my Matter of Manred series. The title heroine, Lady Eithne, is of relatively humble origin (being from the lowest rung of the aristocracy, and a bastard branch of her family besides), and has been reluctant for three books now to become an arranged bride, but she’s thrust into making this choice by events beyond her control. I wanted a smaller, intimate, character-driven story that explored questions of fate, free-will, pre-destination, family, and obligation, without the world-shaking overtones of epic fantasy.
What would you say is the overall message or the theme of this book?
I was raised Catholic, and have read a lot of “Chosen One” fantasy fiction over the years, and as a father of daughters, and a feminist-friendly person in general, the question of choice and free-will in relation to romance and religion is important me. So questions about fate, free-will, and the nature of evil feature prominently in the heroine’s development. It’s something of an “Abraham & Isaac” story, told from a female viewpoint, with marriage as the sacrificial altar. So these are the predominant themes in “The Wedding of Eithne.”
Tell me about the experience of writing this book; how long did it take.
Parts of “The Wedding of Eithne” go back fifteen years, and the original draft from which the core of this story emerged was written two years ago in about 90 days. And then this particular book was drafted last year in another 90-ish days, and went through about six months of rewrites before I was happy with the final draft. The process involved many years of researching medieval Irish culture, particularly marriage practices, myths, and legends. I even went to Ireland for a few weeks to immerse myself in the culture.
Tell me about the main storyline within this book.
The Lady Eithne has lived her whole life under a magical prohibition: she may not marry until the portents are favorable, but she’ll always have the right to choose her husband. Now, the portents are favorable, AND they coincide with an ancient prophecy. Eithne is left with little more than a day to decide whether to accept marriage arranged for her. But rival religious and political factions have their own ideas about her wedding plans. How can she avoid becoming a pawn for one side or another, yet still exercise her free right of choice?
Who is the protagonist of this story?
The Lady Eithne is the daughter of a minor aristocratic family, raised in a remote mountain village. Because of her magical prohibition, she aspired to a life beyond the typical fate of being married off as a teenager to the first man who could afford her bride-price. When the years went on, she began to think she’d end up an unmarried “spinster,” and learned about “men’s ways” in order to make an independent life for herself. Now that an arranged marriage has been contracted for her, she has to decide what love really means to her.
Who is the antagonist of this story?
This was actually an interesting problem in writing this novel. The visible antagonist is His Reverence Inloth, a priest who believes that his local religious institutions are corrupt and in need of reform, particularly its marriage practices. He is a native of the milieu, but studied abroad and returned with “foreign ideas” and a mission to make his countrymen “see the light” of the larger religious order. But there are also political opponents and “hidden” antagonists. Inloth’s reformation isn’t all that it seems to be, and not all of his villainous allies are honest and earnest.
What is the major conflict in this story?
As a divorced Catholic, I am myself something of an oxymoron, faced with the question of whether my marriage is actually still valid (no according to the State, but yes according to my Church). So the fundamental question in “The Wedding of Eithne” is whether Eithne really has the free-will to choose her own marriage partner, and what the consequences of that choice might be. She is also faced with the problem of whether her choice (if it is truly free) would be legitimate and valid, given the political and religious conflicts currently dividing her land.
Where and when is this story taking place?
“The Wedding of Eithne” is set in the dark, medieval-style milieu of my Matter of Manred fantasy series. The setting and political culture were influenced by 12th-Century AD Ireland in the decades preceding the Anglo-Norman Conquest, and the religious culture was inspired by hybridizing Irish myths and legends and mystic Pythagorean philosophy with real-life Catholic Church conflicts of the period. Robert E. Howard, Evangeline Walton, CJ Cherryh, and Glen Cook were the primary influences on the writing style, but I could probably spend 100 words just naming authors that have influenced me, there are so many.
Who is your favorite character in this book?
Although I love Lady Eithne and her betrothed, two minor characters who first appeared in my second book recur here: Adarc and Corentin. The first is essentially a fourteen-year-old seminary student, acting as a guide and interpreter for the second, a foreign merchant’s apprentice “studying the market” for his trading company. I love them because they have such divergent world-views, the spiritual versus the commercial. In a way, they represent the warring halves of my own soul, the writer (an act of faith) and the publisher (with all my American capitalist commercialism).
Are there elements of your personality or life experiences in this book?
I’ve already mentioned a few of the elements of my own life and personality that have wormed their way into “The Wedding of Eithne,” like my Irish Catholic upbringing, my divorce, and my daughters. I think any writer worth his salt tells very personal–and sometimes uncomfortable–stories. I’ve certainly taken my own fears of failure and success, and my reluctance to disappoint, and weaved these into the characters. I’ve also drawn on my own family history in developing these characters, though it wouldn’t be appropriate to name names, considering how much the characters have diverged from their inspirations.
What is one thing from this book you wish was real or could happen to you?
I suppose the whole book is an act of wish-fulfillment in one way or another. I wish I could find the sort of love that the characters in “The Wedding of Eithne” are looking for, a partner that isn’t just obligated to be a part of my life, as a consequence of chance and circumstance, but who really wants to be there. Someone I can believe in and encourage, and who believes in and supports the person I am and want to become as well.
What is something you wish wasn’t real and hope doesn’t happen to you?
I most certainly never want to be attacked by giant bats, spiders, or snakes!
Let’s say your book is being turned into a feature-length film; quick- cast the main two characters and pick a theme song or score.
Two songs come to mind: “When Will We Be Married” by the Waterboys and “Short-Change Hero” by The Heavy. As for casting the film, I’ll have to say Keira Knightley from her roles in “King Arthur” and “Domino,” and F. Murray Abraham as the villain Inloth.
Do you have any special plans for this book in the near or far future?
This book closes out what I call “The Eowain Cycle” of my Matter of Manred Saga, setting up the background for the story in my next major book. But one thing I’d like to do with “The Wedding of Eithne” is create an omnibus edition that combines it with the previous three books in the series. I’d also like to create hardcover editions of my books. Several readers have already asked about it. Like many writers, I’m a total narcissist, so I wouldn’t mind having such a thing on my own shelves, something that will really last the ages.
Okay readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. To Pre-order your copy of The Wedding of Eithne (March 28th release), please visit the links provided.
Greetings readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors and welcome to The ToiBox of Words. I’m your host Toi Thomas, author of Eternal Curse, and today I have a treat to share. A while back, I had the pleasure to interview a wonderful author named, Dan Nimak. A good time was truly had by all, and here’s how it went down. Be sure to check out the special offer at the end.
Toi Thomas:Hi thereDan! It’s so awesome to have you here at the ToiBox Blog. I’m excited to learn more about you and your work.
Dan: Thanks so much for inviting me, Toi. I really appreciate it.
Toi Thomas:So tell me, who isDan Nimak?
Dan: I was confirmed at birth as a total left-brainer – math degree and all (though the degree came several years later). Mysteriously, my memory didn’t kick in until the sixth grade, when I fell in love with books. I even tried “writing” one then. Thankfully, no copy of that masterpiece exists. I do remember someone died at the end, so it must’ve been YA instead of MG. Fast forward to three years ago: In an illogical attempt to verify right-brain vital signs, I decided to write a book. I’m not sure what happened, but I now have two completed novels.
Toi Thomas: I can relate. My first, 12-year-old, attempt at a novel “accidently” burned in a fire. Oh well. Glad to see that your left-brain and right-brain are working well together. Two novels is no small feat.
Toi Thomas: Now, before we dive into your special message today, let’s get to know you, the person inside the author.
Toi Thomas:What makes you geek out?
Dan: Any type of science fiction, and especially my current favorite shows: Doctor Who, Dark Matter, Killjoys, The Man in the High Castle. (Based on the bookby Philip K. Dick.)
Toi Thomas: Wow, you really are a sci-fi fan. I like it. Plus, if you are going to write science fiction, you should partake in the culture. Any thoughts on Firefly? I’m always curious about that one.
Dan: I’m a big fan of the Firefly series, though I must admit I was one of the many who missed out on its initial release. I didn’t catch up until a friend recommended the Firefly movie finale “Serenity,” which came out a couple of years later. It’s definitely one of the most unique sci-fi series ever (in my humble, little opinion). Now that you’ve mentioned it, I think it’s about time I watch it again!
Toi Thomas: I like you, missed the initial airing, but have since watched the show and movie. Now, I’m just holding out for an animated series… Moving on.
Toi Thomas:Okay, so what was your favorite book or story, pre-teen years?
Dan: EZ question!Half Magic, by Edward Eager. I was eleven years old when I randomly read this book, and it absolutely showed me how reading could be FUN. I seriously had no idea until I picked up that book. Thanks, Mr. Eager.
Toi Thomas: What a fun endorsement. I’ve never read that book, but I can now see it on my TBR.
Toi Thomas:In terms of interviews, whose brain are you just itching to scratch?
Dan: I’m cheating and naming two people. I would have loved interviewing Robin Williams. And for the same reason, I’d love to interview Gary Larson (The Far Side comic strip, retired in 1995). No two people have ever made me laugh out loud like Robin and Gary did.
Toi Thomas: I totally get that. I don’t think people give enough respect to people with the ability to make others laugh. There’s no Oscar for best comedic performance and none of the writing awards that acknowledge it are ever publicized or televised. I like that you can appreciate humor; so many people don’t. Do you by any chance incorporate humor into your writing?
Dan: Definitely. I believe Middle Grade needs a good mixture of adventure, mystery, drama, fun and humor. And hopefully, my readers will laugh at the appropriate times.
Toi Thomas: Now that we know a little more about you, the person, let’s learn about you, the author, and dive into your special message.
Toi Thomas:So whacha got for me today?
Dan: “Has Anyone Seen My Brain?” is a Middle Grade adventure about a trio of twelve-year-olds and a dog named Blue invisibly traveling through time. They enjoy the best summer ever – until the trip in which one of the friends truly disappears. A fourteen-year-old girl from the Salem witch trials helps with the search, and they soon discover that finding their lost friend will lead to a life-or-death decision. Here’s a partial review from “The Page Turner” – “The writing is quick and clever…and as hard as it is to manage time travel without plot holes, this one aced it.”
Toi Thomas: I agree with The Page Turner Review; after reading the book myself, I can attest to your ability to address plot issues while keeping the fun rolling. Here’s a look at my reviewas well.
Toi Thomas:Now, Dan, tell me who’s starring in this 2-dimensional script read ofHas Anyone Seen My Brain?
Dan: Addi, Brain and Jaden make up “The Blue Team” (named after Addi’s dog, Blue). While Addi is the true “brains” of the group, Jaden provides the comedy. And it’s Brain who has to make a heart-wrenching decision that determines the fate of one of the friends. They seek some timely assistance from Anekia, but the girl from the Salem witch trials has her own issues.
Toi Thomas: You have a way with words; no spoilers here, but you’re right. Anekia does have a whole set of issues it takes Brain a while to acknowledge; he is just a kid after all. Would you be willing to admit as to whether one of the characters is your favorite?
Dan: I’d have to go with Anekia, which you know, isn’t her “real” name. Even though she’s dealing with some serious 17th century problems, she wants to help her new friends hundreds of years in the future. Plus…she is very capable of getting even with Jaden (no spoilers) in the humor department.
Toi Thomas:I see. Well, overall, what do you feel about this story is going to reel in the readers?
Dan: I wanted to lightly touch on 17th century Salem, with a focus on friendship, tough decisions, and forgiveness. (I threw in a little baseball for the fun of it.) I hope many will enjoy, and I’m very grateful for those who take the time to give my story a shot.
Toi Thomas: I think the baseball was a fun touch. There are so many angles to which you could pitch this lovely story: Salem Witch Trials, Baseball, Time Travel, Invisibility, Coming-of-age, and so much more. I really think you’ve got something here.
Toi Thomas: Now this is where the questions get a little kooky; are you ready?
Toi Thomas:If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Dan: I’ve got to refer to you, Toi, on this. When I first read your review of my book, a fist pump was involved regarding, “It’s a very touching story with a coming-of-age significance and an ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ impact.” I suppose I’m a sucker for happy endings.
Toi Thomas: It’s funny that you say that. I was thinking over the holidays, that people don’t watch that movie enough anymore. It’s a classic worth watching from time to time.
Toi Thomas: Let’s play zombie urban survivor. What 3 things do you need to survive a black-out in Central Park the day zombies attack?
Dan: My kindle; my solar panel charger; and, my soon-to-be-acquired zombie blaster.
Toi Thomas: A hardcore reader to the end. That’s what I like to hear. Even in the zombie apocalypse, we have to let the good times roll.
Toi Thomas:Speaking of good times, what’s the most fun experience you’ve ever had, to date?
Dan: I guess I could get all “deep” and mention the birth of our three daughters. The miracle of birth is certainly wonderful, but to be honest, the word “gross” comes to my mind more often than the word “fun.” We’ve had a lot of great times traveling and hiking in many places. For a single event of pure entertainment, I’d have to rank zip-lining several hours through the Smoky Mountains on a beautiful fall afternoon a few years ago as one of the best!
Toi Thomas:Aww, how sweet. Yes, the birth of a child is indeed wonderful, but I agree that zip-lining is probably more fun. I love it.
Toi Thomas: Last question of the day; here we go.
Toi Thomas:Not that you can see into the future, but in your opinion, what does the future hold?
Dan: For the immediate future (2017), my goal is to complete “Dioji,” the sequel to “Has Anyone Seen My Brain?” I’m also working on another novel, with a hopeful appearance during 2017 as well. Ten years from now, I will be found zip-lining on a regular basis through the Smokies.
Toi Thomas: A sequel to HASMB sounds great. I can’t wait… And here’s to a future of fun and zip-lining.Is there a question you would like to ask me before you go?
Dan: Would you mind sharing my special offer with your readers?
Toi Thomas: Of course not, Dan. I’d be delighted.
Dan is offering both “Has Anyone Seen My Brain?” and “Above the Rain” as free eBooks. All you need to do is tell him which book(s) and what version (mobi or epub) you would like. Please email him through the “Contact” link on his site and let him know either your email address or your kindle email address, so he can send you the files.
Toi Thomas:Dan, thank you so much for spending time with me today.
Dan: It’s been my pleasure, Toi. I hope you and your readers have a great 2017. And on a personal note, I’d like to congratulate you and wish you luck with your guest appearance at a Fantasy convention this spring. Please keep us updated with the details!
Thanks again Dan. Okay readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. For more fromDan Nimak, check out these great links:
Gardens inspire me in so many ways. I’ve included gardens in my other works so many times including my Eternal Curse Series and other short stories such as Our Place. I actually wrote three different stories in preparation for this challenge, but I couldn’t keep my word count down or limit my story lines to tell the whole story I wanted to tell. Finally, I gave up and decided to simply share part of a story. The sample below is the introduction to a fantasy adventure that still exceeds the word count a bit. Oh well.
“Agent Trence Howard to see Professor Jardin,” announced the short round woman with chestnut skin. She pulled from her front blazer pocket a folded booklet of identification and smirked impatiently.
The clerk glared up at her through his glasses and sighed. He reached for the booklet and responded, “So you are. You are Agent Howard, and let’s face it, pretty darn lucky.”
Trence pocketed her identification back into her red blazer and clicked her matching heels together. “Is there going to be a problem here?”
“Oh no; no problem here.”
The clerk stepped away from his desk and pointed down a long hall leading into darkness. Trence nodded her head and then followed behind him quietly. Her red heels had no reason to clink at this time.
“What makes you think I’m so lucky anyway?” The clerk paused a moment to look Trence in the eyes and then turned to continue down the hall.
“You do realize that you’ll be the first to enter the professor’s private quarters? I mean, you must realize there has to be a reason why you had to get a letter from the judge in order to force your way in there.”
“I did what I had to. As long as the professor has nothing to hide, there shouldn’t be any problems.”
This time, the clerk stopped without turning. “You can find it from here. It’s the only door at the end.” Trence sighed and lifted her skirt, letting her heels express her annoyance. After a few steps, the clerk called out. “We all know he has something to hide, but some of us trust he has his reasons for hiding it.” Trence didn’t respond as she marched forward.
The hall seemed to narrow and grow cool. Moisture lingered in the air with a sweet fragrance, like a mist of rose water. Soon the floor seemed to soften. Try as she might, her heels had been quieted by the cushion beneath her. Just ahead the shape of a door could just be made out in the silhouette of light streaming from behind it.
Hands shaking Trence scolded herself, You are an agent of the High Court; nothing will happen to you here without dire consequences. She grasped the handle of the door and took a deep breath as she plunged forward.
Tripping on an odd green wire, Trence fell forward, dropping the booklet she’d placed in her hand as she opened the door. Expecting to hit the floor hard, Trence was surprised to end up in the arms of a tall thin man with a scruffy beard and emerald-green eyes.
“I’m so sorry to barge in like this. I didn’t mean to make such a scene.”
“Well, this is quite a surprise. I assume you are from the High Court. I must say, I was expecting a man.”
“Of course, you were; everyone expects me to be a man. In any case, I’m here to inspect your work in order to find answers concerning your achievements in biochemistry.” Trence straighten herself and dusted off her skirt. The button of her blazer had popped off and it made her feel a bit vulnerable, but she wasn’t going to let the thin man know that.
“Straight down to business, are we? Shouldn’t we at least have introductions?” The tall man bowed and extended his hand. “I’m Professor Jardin.”
Trence patted around in search of her identification, ignoring his extended hand, and then huffed. “I seem to have miss placed my credentials, but I assure you, I am Agent Howard and we should be getting straight down to business. I understand you keep a garden and a laboratory, aside from your exclusive collection of books.”
“You mean my library?”
Trence blinked. “Sure, your library. I assume this is it we are in now. Should I begin by cataloging the books?”
“I don’t know if you should handle the books; they are so rare and delicate. Surely they can’t be of any real importance.”
“Perhaps Professor, but that’s for me to decide. I can at least discover what the books are about and list them alphabetically.” Trence looked beyond the floral-toned book bindings, taking in the smell of fresh moss and a subtle trickle of water. “Is your garden nearby?”
The professor smiled and the corner of his eyes sparkled. Trence shook her head thinking she was seeing a glare, but from where she didn’t know. “Yes, the garden is near. This is such fun. I think you may actually figure it out before long.”
“Figure what out. How exactly is this fun for you, Jardin? Don’t you understand that your life’s work is under investigation?”
“Of course, I understand, but soon you’ll be wondering why, now of all times, I am being investigated.”
“It’s not for me to wonder why. I’m here to collect data for the initial hearings. That’s all. So, now, please where is the garden, where is your lab, and where do you actually work? You must have an office; at least a desk.”
“I have all of those things and more. It’s all here. Look around and open your eyes.”
Trence pursed her lips and pushed air through her nostrils. Of course, the only female agent in the Court gets stuck working the cuckoo case. “Please just tell me what I want to know so we can move this along.”
Professor Jardin stepped toward Trence and begin to speak when something caught his attention. He shook his head and closed his eyes. “Professor, what are you doing? It seemed like you were going to say something.”
Jardin kept his eyes closed but begin to turn his head from side to side. “Ah, it seems we’ve found your missing credentials and a red button. Are you missing a red button?”
Trence looked around briefly and then stared at the professor with his eyes closed. “Yes, I had a red button.”
Jardin lifted his head and opened his bold emerald eyes. “That’s good because they are right behind you.”
Slowly, Trence began to turn around, clenching her fist and wondering why she was letting this man get to her. Before she completed her turn a wall of vines took her breath away. It wasn’t there a moment ago and yet it was a wall, lush green cords and orange buds, some hanging from the unseen ceiling and others shooting up from the mossy floor. Her credentials and button rested neatly in a nest of leathery leaves emerging from the surrounding foliage.
Without turning back to the professor, Trence eeked out, “Who exactly are we?”