Robert Adams is a normal teenager who raises tropical fish, makes money shoveling snow off his neighbors’ sidewalks, gets stuck washing the breakfast dishes, dreads trying to ask girls out on dates and enjoys listening to his grandfather’s tall tales about magic and the western mountains. Yet, Robert is cursed by a raw talent his parents refuse to talk to him about: his dreams show him what others cannot see.
When the family plans a vacation to the Montana high country, Grandfather Elliott tells Robert there’s more to the trip than his parents’ suspect. The mountains hide a hidden world where people the ailing old man no longer remembers need help and dangerous tasks remain unfinished. Thinking that he and his grandfather will visit that world together, Robert promises to help.
On the shore of a mountain lake, Robert steps alone through a doorway into a world at war where magic runs deeper than the glacier-fed rivers. Grandfather Elliott meant to return to this world before his health failed him and now Robert must resurrect a long-suppressed gift to fulfill his promises, uncover old secrets, undo the deeds of his grandfather's foul betrayer, subdue brutal enemy soldiers in battle, and survive the trip home.
This was my first novel, so I am very partial to it. It's set in Glacier National Park Montana. Those of you who know the park well will recognize Many Glacier Hotel, Swiftcurrent and Josephine Lakes, and the Ptarmigan Tunnel. As a bellman at Many Glacier Hotel for two years, I saw the surrounding countryside a lot, so years later, I had no trouble imagining my main character on the same trails I hiked many times.
Actually, I dreamt about this story when my grandparents took me on a day trip to a park in central Illinois where there was a famous statue called "The Sun Singer." Little did I know when I was in junior high school that I would collect my dreams about that statue into a novel.
The novel, which is a contemporary fantasy, follows the "hero's journey" theme popularized by mythologist Joseph Campbell (no relation to me). Heroes, according to Campbell, go on journeys to solve a problem, right a wrong, or rescue somebody, and end up returning much changed themselves.
Sunrise in Many Glacier Valley - National Park Service photo.
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