Sunday, November 01, 2015

“The Daughters Daring”

When his daughters were young, Biggs resident Steve Thompson made up bedtime stories for them, tales of two courageous girls in a world with “an enchanted forest, gnomes, witches, and all kinds of fun.” After serving as a drill sergeant in the Army Reserve and now as a foster care worker, Thompson has begun putting those stories into print.

“The Daughters Daring” ($10.99 in paperback from KECELJ Publishing; also for Amazon Kindle, with more information at introduces readers to Elizabeth and Emily Daring, daughters of Duke Daring, “the hero of Highcynder,” a kingdom that would soon face grave peril. (Thompson’s own daughters are the cover models; the book also contains chapter illustrations by Paradise’s Steve Ferchaud and, at the end, a descriptive list of characters.)

While Elizabeth practices archery, watched by her older sister Emily, 12, things go awry, just slightly. It was usually Emily, the athletic one with “the explorer’s heart,” who got into trouble. Fortunately, Elizabeth, “sharp-minded and a skilled negotiator,” was “able to melt even her father’s stern heart with her sapphire blue eyes.”

The Sweetberry Festival is coming (how the duke loves sweetberry pie!), but the sweetberries have disappeared. Some blame the gnomes of the Enchanted Forest, so Emily and Elizabeth sneak off to recover the goods.

That’s when the adventure begins, one that will test the determination and courage of the sisters as they encounter goblins, ogres, and a witch with a cunning plan to take over Highcynder. The gnomes are the good guys, as are the Faery Folk, but seemingly no match against the ogre king, “taller even than their father and some of the tallest knights in the kingdom. He was also thick like a burled tree trunk, with skin that looked almost like bark.”

The witch tempts Elizabeth with talk of the evils of freedom in Highcynder. “I would harness their selfish energies to be utilized for the greater good.” The words, perhaps, of every tyrant.

It’s a well-told tale, with plenty of action, suitable for reading aloud to children and for pondering how “the love of one family can make the difference against the greatest of odds.” Readers will eagerly await the next adventure.    

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