GIVEAWAY: Over the Mountain and Back by Marie Aster
With his father gone missing and his mother losing her grip on reality,
Peter Bailey’s life is nopicnic. Peter’s gray existence changes unexpectedly
after he takes his new snowboard for a ride in the mountains of Colorado and is
stunned to find himself in Transadonia – a hidden world
that coexists alongside with the Earth.
Lara Grover never listened to her elders, so warnings like “do not
talk to strangers” mean nothing to her. When a boy from an unknown world saves
her from an avalanche with the aid of a snow dragon, Lara is not stunned in the
least. Instead, she joins Peter on his quest to help him realize the purpose
behind his arrival to Transadonia.
Together, Lara and Peter embark on an adventure filled with perils,
trickery, betrayals, and unexpected alliances.
Unbeknownst to the rest of the
Earth, Transadonia had prospered peacefully for hundreds of years, yet recently
its serene existence was plagued with an unrelenting string of terrible
misfortunes that instilled panic and despair in all of Transadonia’s
inhabitants, both magical and human alike, as they desperately awaited an
answer to their troubles from the Chancellor. Even though the Chancellor was
not involved in the government affairs of Transadonia, his duties were just as
important as those of the king, if not more so, since he was the keeper of
Transadonia’s ancient mysteries. The Chancellor was in charge of overseeing the
University and the University Library, two of Transadonia’s most venerable
institutions that were located in the City of Light.
The jewel of Transadonia and its
founding city, the City of Light was an island, connected to the rest of the
country by a bridge and a network of ferries. Transadonia had been founded by
scholars who sought a place where they could practice sciences unhindered, and
the value of learning had always been in high esteem there; hence, the name -
the City of Light. It was the citadel of knowledge, and knowledge meant light.
Initially, the City of Light had been the capital, but as time passed, and
Transadonia’s realm grew, sprouting various industries that drove it away from
its scholarly roots, the capital was moved across the lake to the town of
Rigazom. The City of Light retained its paramount status and became a state
within a state. The king reigned in the capital and oversaw the government and
commerce matters of Transadonia, while the Chancellor resided in the City of
Light, had complete autonomy in the matters under his charge, and often acted
as a counselor to the king.
The Chancellor's name was Theodore
Libra. He was a tall, lean man with broad shoulders, and despite all the hours
that he had devoted to scholarly studies, his posture was perfectly straight,
and his gait was swift and powerful. For the Chancellor, the learning process
never stopped: some subjects took a lifetime to understand and master, and it
was the Chancellor’s duty to constantly enrich his wisdom. Many of the
disciplines that were wielded by the Chancellor had to be learned in solemn
pursuit of knowledge, the success of which was determined not only by one’s
willingness or ability, but also by one's intentions, since these were complex
subjects, and they could only be mastered fully by someone who would not misuse
One of such subjects was reading
the Epistemon. The Epistemon, also referred to as the book of insight was one
of the most highly kept secrets of the Library. The Epistemon had the power to
answer any question, but the book would only answer questions of utmost
importance and only when the question was asked unselfishly. If the book
detected any falseness in the seeker's mind, its pages would not reveal the
answer and would remain blank. Furthermore, to receive the answer, the question
had to be framed correctly; otherwise, the book would ignore it and respond
with blank pages. Most importantly, it was up to the reader to understand the
book's advice and find the means to execute it, since receiving the answer was
only half the task. Afterwards, the wisdom of the advice had to be deciphered,
which was a formidable undertaking in itself. The Epistemon also served as a
history record of Transadonia. As each century came to a close, so did the
corresponding volume of the Epistemon. At the onset of a new century, the
completed book would spawn a new volume, and no one, not even the Chancellor
himself, knew what secret powers of the Epistemon enabled its constant
regeneration. It was said that it had to do with the magical origins of
Transadonia itself, and beyond that nothing else was known. The Epistemon
volume for each corresponding century was preserved with the utmost care in the
Library as official historical record that could never be altered, while the
new Epistemon volume would continue serving Transadonia.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
very much for joining me for Over the Mountain and Back blog tour. The story of
Over the Mountain and Back began over twenty years ago when I was fourteen
years old and decided to write a novel as an anniversary gift for my parents.
It was going to be a fantasy adventure about a boy named Peter and a girl named
Lara set in a magical country, Transadonia. I remember writing studiously on
the pages of an ornate notebook I had acquired especially for the occasion.
Back then computers were not yet widely used, so I had to pay extra care to my
handwriting. A year later, Over the Mountain and Back was completed, or at
least I had thought so at the time. Needless to say my parents were very
surprised with their anniversary gift.
I finished high school and went on to college. Lara’s and Peter’s story faded
from my mind, replaced by the hustles and bustles of everyday life. Then, one
day – the day that happened to be my thirtieth birthday, my parents presented
me with a gift: it was oblong in shape and wrapped in shiny paper. After I
opened the wrapping, I was stunned to find the long forgotten story I had
written all those years ago.
short, after two years of extensive work, I rewrote and expanded Over the
Mountain and Back into a novel of 95,000 words. For me it had been an exciting
journey to be reunited with my old friends: Lara and Peter, Forest Witch
Ramona, Chancellor Libra, Bookbrownies, and, of course, Carnelion, among the
I hope that
you will join Lara and Peter on their adventure in Transadonia.
If you would
like to find out more about my books, please stop by website:
Mountain and Back – a fantasy adventure novel