The Secret Country (Eidolon Chronicles)

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9781416907121: The Secret Country (Eidolon Chronicles)

Ben has been saving for weeks to buy the Mongolian fighting fish he's seen in the local pet shop. But on entering Mr Dodds' Pet Emporium, a small cat hooks his claws into Ben's jumper and begs to be bought. The cat tells Ben that Mr Dodds is importing rare magical beasts into this world and he needs his help to save them. Like fish out of water, they are dying in this world, away from their magical land. A parallel world, Eidolon, exists as a neighbour to our own and is filled with magic and magical creatures, like dragons, selkies, sabre-toothed tigers and faeries. With his new friend, Iggy the talking cat, Ben travels between the worlds and helps some of these amazing creatures return home. On his journey he makes loyal friends, encounters danger and adventure and discovers his own royal lineage in the Secret Country...

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About the Author:

Jane Johnson is the director of HarperCollins UK's fantasy and science fiction list and for many years was the publisher of J. R. R. Tolkien's work. While she has written adult novels as both Gabriel King and Jude Fischer, the Eidolon Chronicles is her first series for children. Ms. Johnson lives in London and Morocco. Visit Ms. Johnson at her website, www.janejohnson.eu.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-7-When a talking cat convinces Ben to purchase it from Mr. Dodds's Pet Emporium, the boy has no idea what adventures await him. Except for his one green and one brown eye, Ben seems a perfectly normal child with two sisters, a journalist father, and a mysteriously ailing mother. After a unicorn turns up at a cricket match and a wood-sprite appears in his garden, Ben finds himself enmeshed in the fate of Eidolon, the Secret Country. As each chapter unfolds, the mythic significance of seemingly ordinary events and characters deepens. Mr. Dodds, who is kidnapping creatures such as selkies and dragons from Eidolon, turns out to be a supremely evil figure from ancient legend, with Ben's Awful Uncle Aleister as his partner in crime. Wishing to help the displaced, sickened creatures return home, Ben finds the wild road that leads there and eventually goes himself. Looking through his green eye, he sees a once-beautiful magical world now corrupted and dying. He learns that his mother was queen of the Secret Country, and that he, as its prince, must try to save it from Mr. Dodds's usurpation. This readable, accessible fantasy, with its likable and all-too-human young hero, is reminiscent of C. S. Lewis's Narnia stories (HarperCollins). The writing is smooth and clear, and the action flows quickly, enlivened by touches of humor. Black-and-white cartoon sketches head each chapter. The wide-open ending presages a sequel. -Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams
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