The Red Sun: Legends of Orkney by Alane Adams
Middle Grade/YA fantasy
Paperback, eBook, 346 pages
Publisher: SparkPress (August 4, 2015)
After meeting a strange dwarf in his garage and finding out his substitute English teacher is a witch, twelve-year-old Sam Baron travels through a stonefire to the magical realm of Orkney where he finally learns the truth about his past: his mother is a witch and his father is a descendant of the Norse god, Odin.
"The Red Sun" is the first book in The Legends of Orkney, the spellbinding series of adventure fantasy novels by Alane Adams. It follows Sam to the realm of Orkney where witches, wraiths, and other menacing creatures cause serious peril to the unsuspecting Sam. Now, it's up to him to save his friends and all of Orkney from a cursed red sun. Can a young witch girl named Mavery help him?
Drawing on Norse mythology, this fantastical story will enthrall middle grade and tween readers with a taste for adventure. As Sam grapples with dark and dangerous elements from his past and confronts his own simmering anger over long ago events, "The Red Sun" sears with wild imagination and breathtaking moments. Follow "The Red Sun" for the high-flying magical ride of your life.
The setting sun cast a farewell glow across the green and fertile countryside. Basking in the radiance, Robert Barconian watched the day’s end from a window in his new farmhouse on the outskirts of Skara Brae. At thirty-two, Robert had seen his fair share of sunsets, but they never grew old for him.
By Odin’s blood, Orkney is glorious this time of year, Robert thought.
After a difficult winter, spring was finally in the air. The days were longer now. Soon, crops would need planting and tending. The fence would need repairs to keep animals from feasting on early buds. Robert envisioned his life as a farmer with a smile. It would be a new adventure. An adventure, unlike many in his past, he could safely share with his wife and child.
“Is he asleep?” Robert whispered to Abigail, who gently rocked their seven day-old son, Samuel, in her arms while she walked circles around the hand-carved bassinet.
“Yes,” she replied, “but I don’t want to put him down just yet.”
And to think some doubted Abby would make a great mother, Robert recalled. He took no small pride in knowing those naysayers were all wrong.
Robert returned his gaze to the fertile acreage outside the window. That dirt was now his family’s future. The soil was rocky in spots, but with this much afternoon sun there was no reason they could not claim a bumper crop come harvest time. “I’m thinking black cabbage and squashmor,” Robert whispered to Abigail, passing by him on another lap around the baby’s bed. “Maybe even some jookberries for the—”
Outside, a flock of crows broke Robert’s reverie. Flapping and cawing and scattering, spooked from a gnarled tree at the farm’s fenced border. Robert thought he caught a glimpse of a figure, indistinct, before it disappeared into the tree’s twisted shadows.
“No,” Abigail teased, bringing his attention back, “you are not corrupting our son with your jookberry addiction.” She finally stopped circling. “Now, if you had said gally melons… that I could support.”
Robert shook his head, amused, as she laid the infant down in the bassinet. The truth was that neither parent could wait to share their favorite foods with young Samuel, not to mention cherished places, and childhood stories. Robert kissed his index finger and touched it to his son’s forehead. “Grow up fast, my boy,” he said half-seriously. “There’s much to see and much to do.”
After Abigail carefully tucked Samuel beneath a blanket bearing the Orkadian crest, a white heron clasping a green olive branch, she floated a question.
“I know you have your heart set on homesteading, but do you really think the High Council will let you trade your sword for a… well, for a hoe?”
Robert bristled. “The Council does not control me.” His voice raised with his ire. “I’ll do what’s best for my family, politics be damned.”
“Shh,” Abigail chided with a smile as she waited at the doorway for her husband. “With any luck, our son will have more common sense than his parents.”
“I told you, Abby,” Robert reminded on their way to the kitchen, “you have to forget what they’re saying. Every word, erase it from your mind. If we can’t trust our hearts, what can we trust?” He sealed the question with a kiss. “Call when dinner is ready.”
Robert left through the front door, soaking up the last rays of sun as he strode across his untilled land to the border fence where he had seen the mysterious figure beneath the old tree. There were footprints. Narrow and heeled. Clearly made by a woman.
Glancing back at his farmhouse, now cloaked in twilight, Robert noticed something amiss. A window was open—Samuel’s bedroom window.
That was closed before, he recalled. How could…?
Before he could finish his thought, a wailing cry came from inside the baby’s room.
Robert ran. Across the dirt field, feet barely touching the ground.
Never had he heard his son cry like this. The sound distressed every fiber of his being, made worse by a dread revelation. I never thought it would happen this soon.
He burst in through the front door and sprinted to Samuel’s room, where he found Abigail tightly cradling the bawling baby in her arms.
“Is he all right?” Robert barked breathlessly.
“A Deathstalker. In his bed! Kill it!”
Robert moved quickly to the bassinet. He peered in, only to rear back in alarm. There was a violet-colored scorpion with black pincers and a stinger-tipped tail skittering across the blanket.
“Be careful, Robert!”
Without hesitation, Robert reached in and gathered up the blanket to capture the creature inside, then he flung the cloth to the floor and stomped with both feet until a sickly crunch announced an end to the threat.
He took a moment to regain his breath. “Thank Odin it didn’t sting him.”
Abigail had begun to quiet Samuel, now only sobbing fitfully.
“It did sting him.” Abigail lifted Samuel’s tiny foot to reveal a swollen red mark on the boy’s heel.
“I don’t understand. Deathstalkers are always fatal.”
Abigail covered the baby back up as she moved to the open window. She paused there, looking as if the world was caving in on her. Then she closed the window firmly and turned to Robert.
“We have to leave. Tonight.”
“Leave? But those cursed witches will find us wherever we go.”
“That is why we have to leave the Ninth Realm, Robert.”
Confused, he searched her eyes. “What are you not telling me?”
“To survive that creature… our son has more power than you can imagine. We’re all in danger now.”
With a heavy sigh, Robert nodded in resignation. As Abigail pulled together an overnight bag, he glanced out the window one last time at his would-be farm, now shrouded in darkness. Their future as homesteaders would have to wait.
“I know who can take us,” Robert said, following his wife from the room. “An old sailor.”
“Can he be trusted?” she asked hurrying down the hallway.
“Without a doubt.” Robert joined Abigail in the master bedroom. “But we’ll take no chances,” he added, removing his broad, sheathed sword from the closet.
While Abigail stuffed a change of clothes for both of them into the overnight bag, Robert pulled on his High Council coat and gear. His mind raced ahead. He had never been to Midgard—the Earth realm. He was nervous, but determined.
Wherever we settle, he silently vowed, I will be the best father a boy can have.
About the author
Alane Adams grew up in an old Quaker town called Whittier in Southern California. Adams attended Whittier High School and was active in every possible sport including basketball (proudly claiming the nickname Breakaway Adams!) and swimming and diving. For college, Alane attended the University of Southern California where she wanted to be an English major, but family convinced her to become an accountant to help run a family business. After spending the next few decades helping to build one of the largest recycling companies on the West Coast, Alane left the family business behind to pursue her writing career. Before launching into writing full-time, Alane began teaching full-time at a local university. Finally, the Legends of Orkney series was born when her then 12-year-old son challenged Alane to write a book he could read. She hasn't stopped writing since that day.
Alane's favorite books include any story involving folklore, fantasy and fairytales. When Alane is not writing or teaching, she is hanging out with her three boys, each who have grown up having adventures to rival those of her characters.