UPDATE …. 2012 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards: Gold Medal Winner
“For Lily and Jasper Winter, the Moon Realm began with a single secret bedtime tale. As the children grew older, Uncle Ebb enthralled them with thrilling tales of the Dragondain riding horse-sized, catlike Rinn; mysterious tales of peerin-wielding lunamancers manipulating the magic that lies just beneath the surface of reality; exciting tales of flying dragons, swimming merfolk, stomping giants, and troublesome faeries. But as the magic of their childhood faded, so too did the tales. Eventually, they were just . . . good stories.
Or were they?
Now, nine years after it all began, Uncle Ebb is missing.
Lily and Jasper search for clues, but their uncle’s mansion is full of distractions. A Tesla generator thrums in the basement. Prismatic electrimals flit around walls resembling underwater reefs. Then a most unexpected friend comes to their aid, leading them to a hidden room where they find a mysterious coin—the moon coin. Before the night is out, Lily is transported to the real Moon Realm. But the moons are in trouble. The Rinn of Barreth are under siege, and the lunamancers of Dain are beset by the very dragons they once loved. Most horrifying of all, the moon Darwyth has fallen to a villain named Wrengfoul, whose creeping evil now threatens to overshadow all the Realm.
Are Lily and Jasper too late to save the Moon Realm, or will they have enough time to write an ending of their own?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Due, knew from an early age that he enjoyed story-telling, although ‘The Moon Coin’ did not come easily and with some major reworking of the storyline necessary before Richard was happy with the adventure and its outcome, some six years had past from inception to publication.
Following some difficult encounters with various publishers and editors, Richard took the brave step of setting up his own small press and self publishing ‘The Moon Coin’ as an ebook. He now has the distinction of being the founder of ‘Gibbering Gnome Press’, a division of Ingenius Inventions Run Amok, Ink. (I love the name ‘Gibbering Gnome’, I must remember to ask Richard how he thought that one up!).
Richard currently hails from Southern Maryland, a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, where he is also the co-owner of ‘Second Looks Books’
MY FAVOURITE WORDS FROM THE BOOK
‘…Well, as you grow older, you’ll discover a curious thing about the truth – it plays by its own rules. It cares not one whit about your or anyone else’s beliefs. The truth just is. There is no stopping or changing it. Further, I would counsel you to prepare yourselves, as the truth can be quite far removed from one’s — expectations.’
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT ‘THE MOON COIN’
‘Nine Moons’ make a ‘Moon Realm’ and the ‘Moon Coin’ can transport you to any of them, if only you have the power to believe…..
At the heart of these worlds and known by all, is uncle Ebb (AKA Lord Ebbram) Autumn. Uncle to Lily and Jasper and an uncle like no other, with his head full of stories and his pockets full of presents, who wants nothing more than to see a united Moon Realm, with all its rich and colourful characters living in harmony together, whilst respecting their obvious differences and beliefs.
Which child would not want to have such a great, eccentric and colourful character at the heart of their lives? Someone who lives in a home where the walls are literally a living testimony to the owners’ visits to faraway lands, with corridors and rooms full of excitement and intrigue, just waiting to be explored.
Which child, when confronted with access to the hitherto closely guarded secret of the Moon Coin, would not have their curiosity sufficiently piqued to be tempted to tamper with it, in the hope of discovering its closest secrets, those which even uncle Ebb will not divulge? … especially given that he is never usually without the Moon Coin around his neck.
Now uncle Ebb has disappeared for longer than usual and his family are becoming concerned as to his whereabouts and against all the rules, Lily and Jasper are searching the house, in the hope of finding some clue about his travel plans.
Lily and her brother Jasper are both inquisitive and intelligent children, who have been spoon-fed on these rich and colourful tales for years, although it is Lily who is prove herself the most astute and questioning of the siblings, showing herself to be very sensible and mature for her years …. Sensible that is, until she finds herself to be almost dangerously observant and meddlesome, when she alone, attempts to discover the secrets of the Moon Coin and finds herself transported to the Moon of Barreth, without knowing how, therefore not having the knowledge to make the return journey home …..
So begins the start of a beautifully descriptive, cleverly written, intricate story, full of adventure and captivating characters, who draw you into their very lives and worlds.
Lily is treated by some, as something of a celebrity as she is escorted across the moons of Barreth and Dain, especially when her connection with Lord Ebbram is discovered. Despite the problems which their own worlds are facing, many are eager to try and help Lily find her way home, before she gets caught up in the conflicts which are threatening, although none seem to know where uncle Ebb might be and all could wish for his help.
Ownership of the Moon Coin appears to enable Lily to understand and interact with the inhabitants of these other moons, and they with her, in a way which would suggest that the creatures of these distant worlds are not too different from our own, in that there are good and bad fgures, with some more willing to help than others, although all can recognise Lily for the child she is and treat her with the kindness she needs, whilst realising that her intellect is far superior to her years and affording her the respect she is due.
Lily also begins to suspect that her mother may know more about uncle Ebb’s strange and exotic tales and travels, than she has ever let on. In fact she has at times, actively tried to dissuade uncle Ebb from telling the children his tales. This thought is only just the seed of an idea, which Lily has had planted in her mind and she hasn’t worked things out fully yet, as she also tries to assimilate her own part in the larger picture, so watch out as the next installment unfolds …
I get the sneaking suspicion that Lily herself may find out later that she, together with her mother and uncle Ebb, also possesses some of these special powers, and from how she has behaved so far, I think that she will be able to cope with them admirably and with a great level of maturity, her character development should be very interesting to follow.
As a sceptic, I found myself in fantasy overload, as I was transported right to the heart of the action, on the amazing faraway moons of Barreth and Dain, there to meet magical characters with such wonderful names .. Rinn, Dragondain, Wyflings, Wirtles, Wornot and Scaramann and of course, Lumanancers …. and I loved every minute of it.
The descriptions of creatures and places of almost mythical proportions, were vivid and mature, whilst still managing to retain the necessary balance in the narration to satisfy both the target YA audience and the wider adult reading population, who like myself, will no doubt be entranced by the skill of the author, Richard Due. I just cannot believe that this maturity and skill with the written word, comes from a debut author.
The tales of fantastic lore-filled puzzles are deeply layered and have been expertly crafted to produce an epic work which flows at a tremendous pace, with more twists and turns than enough, full of shocks and surprises around every corner.
The book works okay as a stand-alone story, up to a point, although the ending is such that you really need to be reading the next installment, which is already in post-production and ready for publication in 2012. When a book actually says ‘to be continued …’ it generally rather annoys me, however I felt that ‘The Moon Coin’ had produced so much more than I had expected, that I did not feel cheated by this final twist in the tale and I am waiting to see just how well the books are linked together and hoping that the second book can also be read independently.
No review about ‘The Moon Coin’ would be complete without mention of the fantastic illustrations, which are to be found on the cover and throughout the book. The illustrations capture the essence of the story in picture form, with their strength and animation, combined with such rich and vivid colours, which draw you right into the story with their warmth. They are the work of talented illustrator, Carolyn Arcabascio. To get ‘close up and personal’ with just a small selection of the fantastic illustrations in ‘The Moon Coin’ and to find out more about the working relationship between illustrator and author, click here.
A FANTASMAGORICAL TALE – FOR THE YOUNG, THE NOT SO YOUNG, OR SIMPLY THE YOUNG AT HEART —– JUST SO LONG AS YOU BELIEVE …
Richard has gifted me a copy of ‘The Moon Coin’ for my kindle, in exchange for me reading and sharing my thoughts about this magical adventure and which, I am sure for Richard, has now become something of a ‘labour of love’.
The fact that my copy was gifted, has not influenced, nor in any way will influence in the future, any comments I may express about the book, in any blog article I may post. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.