Tuesday, November 17, 2009

CSFF Blog Tour Day 3 - Curse of the Spider King - Chapter by Chapter Analysis Part One of Four

Curse of the Spider King: CSFF Blog Tour Day 3:

A Chapter by Chapter analysis, part one of four.

First: WARNING: Spoilers abound galore below and I will not be noting them past this warning.

Also, these are my own thoughts about the book, this isn't an interview, and not a review so much as a log of my thoughts as I read through the book. I'm probably way off target on a lot of what Christopher and Wayne really meant, but that's part of the magic of books, they teach us things, sometimes even the author doesn't know about or wasn't intending.

Chapter One: Eight Hundred Year Echoes

Jumping right into the action, the first thing we encounter is a mystery, a supernatural mystery. Questions arise: Who and what are these characters we meet. Brynn and Elle, concealed in the trees? Why are they hiding? What are they hiding from? What a fantastic beginning. We are introduced to the fact that there is an enemy. We learn that something is taking place in an unseen world and the Earth. This chapter, about four pages in length is full of many introductions to new characters and places, and yet is not overcrowded, it has just enough familiarity that you don't feel completely lost, and enough new ideas to catch your interest. We are presented not only with the introduction, but also with the fact that there is a conflict, not only in the story, but as part of the story. This is to be expected, this is a tale that follows the familiar good verses evil conflict plot after all, most stories talk about fall and redemption, good verses evil, and what happens in between in some form or another.

We are told of a portal. The supernatural brought right up front. This is a clue, something is not normal, this is the first clue we receive that we are reading a story that goes deeper then what meets the eye. We get a taste of the fact that there are actually horrors. We are told of a knowing enemy. But as of yet he is kept out of the picture, this fact alone brings just a small amount of fear into this very first chapter.

Personally, I feel this is a great introduction to the rest of the book. We are told most of the major plot points that we are we will be encountering later, a lot of little clues in this short chapter, yet there is more mystery then revelation.

Chapter Two: A Surprise Gift

After a quick introduction for Tommy Bowman, not sure if Tommy or Thomas means anything, but the Bowman is a nice reference to what we later find out is young Mr. Bowman's gift. A little clue of what we see later on. We discover that part of our story takes place in an environment we are perhaps more familiar with then the first chapter, a middle school.

And then comes the horror. A mysterious figure arrives in a black sports car, young Mr. Bowman at first curious about this sports car feels a fear. We're starting to get a taste of the more freaky side of the book. The familiar made scary. This is horrifying. To see something ordinary, in this case what looks to be something cool, a classmate in a sports car, turns quickly into something horrifying.

We find more clues here, but we also find how Tommy Bowman thinks of himself. He is an ordinary kid who can't really do much of anything, has no particularly wonderful qualities about him. Ahem, Tommy is a Hobbit. Not in the literal sense perhaps, but in the sense of being the weak, and the foolish that confounds the wise. He's even got the curly hair. When I see Mrs. Galdarro telling him he's got talent, I'm a little reminded of Gandalf's selection of Bilbo Baggins for the position of burgerler.

And then after more introducing of the characters, including two new ones. Mrs. Galdarro and Mr. Charlie, we find a clue skittering across the floor. A little clue perhaps, but an important one. The subtle placing of a spider running across the floor. It may not be Hogwarts castle, but Tommy is still wandering around darkened corridors, and creeping things are present.

Not only that but the school is described as having a feel like “My grandma's house” as well, so here we have that which was at first creepy, turning into something familiar. Several more hints and clues are planted throughout the next pages as Tommy converses with Mrs. Galdarro and Mr. Charlie.

All the while, there is a terror lurking just beyond the walls, as the familiar again becomes horrifying.

Chapter Three: Blue Girl

Here we meet another of our main characters, Kat Simonson. A couple of things are immediately noticeable about young Kat Simonson. The first is that she's blue, as in the color, and she's incidentally, blue, as in depressed about it. Kat, otherwise, seems very like the common teenager. But, I love the themes that start to come up in this chapter. Difficulties with feeling accepted, dealing with prejudice, feeling distant, even from those you love. Dealing with fair-weather friends, and dealing with a blessing disguised as an illness.

There is a lot I like about this chapter, on the first two pages we introduced to the same problems that real people face. I think, not for Kat's sake, that this is great. Here we see one of my favorite aspects of books: They allow us to face our fears, hopes, dreams, losses, and heartaches in a relatively safe environment. Whether we like it or not, life is full of these exact things.

Our first scene presents us with the difficulties Kat and her mother have with feeling distant from each other. It's not at all uncommon that children feel a distance between them and one or both of their parents. Yet this isn't written to have Kat be a rebellious child. I like it, it's not the typical portrayal of distance, and I think it's far more believable and powerful for it.

The issues go on, Kat has incredibly deep feelings of being a disappointment. That she wasn't the child her parents really wanted.

Really, for the entire length of the chapter, we are given this beautiful picture of what real people face. And yet, everyone has their humanity. The parents are not made out to be clueless villains, and Kat, though distant from them, nevertheless does love them.

These things, having faced some of these issues myself, made Kat one of the characters I most strongly relate to. We get a very good glimpse of her personality and character, and it's believable.

A slightly humorous story, when I first read about it I related to the fact that she was blue. Now I don't have the disease, but several years ago I started turning blue, all over my body my skin was blue. This had gone on for about a week before we discovered the culprit: The dye in the sheets we had bought the week before was turning me blue. This was when I first heard of the disease, for my mother of course was concerned that I had it. I didn't and still don't but, I have been blue before.

Chapter Four: Manifest Destiny

We continue to follow Kat as she is now in her school. In many ways the themes of the last chapter are carried over into this one. Yet we see our first clue that the destinies of Tommy Bowman and Kat Simonson are in some mysterious way entwined. The silent and mysterious horror that has been slowly creeping up on us arrives on the scene. We then meet Mr. Charles Wallace. I enjoy the name choice, Madiline L'engle readers could probably tell you about young Charles Wallace Murry. The intelligent young lad that is one of the main characters in her 'Time' books. When I saw the name, a flag immediately went up pointing to L'engle.

Then we start to see the barriers broken down, two worlds colliding into one. And while this seems to be in once sense or another rather common in literature, we see here that the strange, the supernatural, and the unusual are again marching right into the normal mundane world of Kat. Some call it magic, others special ability, others an art. It doesn't matter, this is the essence of fantasy fiction, the breaking down the barriers of the mundane and revealing a world of wonder. J. R. R. Tolkien in his essay On Fairy-stories tells us: “The magic of Faërie is not an end in itself, its virtue is in its operations: among these are the satisfaction of certain primordial human desires...” For more on that listen to This Podcast 1 hour and 10 minutes into the show, Tolkien Scholor Amy H Sturgis talks about When Harry Met Faerie: The Tolkien Solution to the Rowling Problem. An excellent talk, (Be aware however, that the retaining of the language in a quote or two could prove offensive to some.) that goes into far greater detail then what I'm about to. But in Tolkien's essay he tells us that fairy-stories offer us: Fantasy, Recovery, Escape, and Consolation. Again, listen to the podcast to learn about that or read his essay, but I bring all that up to say that Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper bring into their story this remarkable quality called fantasy. They've opened a door for us, and Kat, to step through, a door through which we find recovery, escape, and consolation.

And it's both frightening and wonderfully transforming.

Chapter Five: Red Dusk

We are now back with Tommy Bowman, and in a sense he is about to encounter Faërie, as we are, in one of the most brilliant characters in the story, I call it a character rather then object as we discover that this book behaves in a peculiar way, almost as if it is a living book, or at least has a consciousness. For instance, when Human's view it, it has completely different contents then when an Elf views it.

But that's not why it's brilliant, it is brilliant because here is a story of a book, within our own book. In many ways it is a self-commentary on the reading of books. That's brilliant!

As I said a moment ago, the book Tommy Bowman is reading is not an ordinary book, it is a gateway to Faërie in one sense, but in the most real way possible. It is a larger then real reality that Tommy encounters when he touches the pages of this book. So too it is like that for us when we read. This commentary within, is an instruction manual for reading, it tells us what it is that stories do for us, it tells us how it is that stories transform us, change us, immerse us. It's a book within a book. This book is a history book, but more then that it is a teacher, like a person, like a character. So it is with any book of any real value, it will transform the reader, it will change them. Storytelling is very powerful, and yet, in a sense it has a sense of safety to it. At any time we can close the book. But even if you don't close the book, chances are you won't desire to actually face an actual giant spider, but in the pages of the book you can experience it, an be transformed by it, and in many ways, that is determined by how immersed one is. So it is that young Mr. Bowman quite literally finds himself immersed inside the pages of a book, yet still has the power to close it. An excellent commentary on reading, and all done with an item within the story.

Within our book within a book we then move into an account of the attack on Berinfell, mostly introductory, but with a few hints at what is to come later, including the introduction of the wisp.

Chapter Six: The Fall of Berinfell

We are continuing our account of the fall of Berinfell, and with it we are introduced at last to our horror that is haunting our heroes. The Drefids, are for the first time mentioned in this chapter, and I believe they are rather frightening. Not only are they deadly, but they are deathly. It is their deathlyness rather then their deadliness that makes them truly frightening. The description of them: Shadowy figures, long white hair, burning embers in otherwise empty sockets. They remind me very much of something dead. The description continues to describe knife blades extended from bony knuckles. That's rather frightening too.

We also find out in the beginning of this chapter what exactly a wisp does. Can you think of something more frightening then that?

This chapter is one of the darker chapters in the book, the grim scene in the throne room, death staring our heroes in the face, death of their comrades, death of their friends, of their Lords. So much loss in just a moment in time. And defeat. The lost of life, love, and land, in an instant, gone.

I often wonder if there is any torment greater then love lost, I can only imagine what the remaining Elves are feeling like. And these Elves, each of them so old, a broken history, it's gone. This is one of those chapters where it is extremely difficult to imagine the agony of those left behind. To lose someone tragically, I believe that the survivors must be feeling crushed.

At the very end of this chapter we return to Tommy's viewpoint, as he closed our book within a book.

One more thought on this strange book, it is not only like a book within a book, it is rather like a book that is for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. This book, is perhaps one of the more fascinating aspects of Curse of the Spider King.

Chapter Seven: Curious Customers

All new characters, all new location. Depauville, New York. Interesting location, for Christopher Hopper happens to live around or in Depauville, New York. Good choice!

Here we meet two new characters, Johnny and Autumn Briarman. (Good names, I've always liked Autumn as a name.) They are a brother and sister, and they act like it. These two are a rather interesting pair. And, in beginning of this chapter they encounter two things: A book shop, and a sense of humor. Avoiding books as if reading was a disease they might contract, what should these two encounter but a bookstore. As for the sense of humor, I love it. “A Likely Story Book Shoppe.”

In case you're wondering I don't think it was the books that had them visiting the book shop. It was the sign in the window. “Prize”.

In a sense this reminds me of how I began to love to read. Never a big reader growing up. Then like entering this marvelous bookshop I watched The Lord of the Rings movies. And as my hunger for more of Middle-Earth quickly outgrew the movies, I had to get a hold of the book. It was the same year I discovered Harry Potter and Narnia. Three marvelous books that totally immersed me in the worlds of Middle-Earth, Hogwarts, and Narnia. Like a spark that lights a fire. Drawn by the sign in the window, a movie, I found reading to be something I rather enjoy. And now I'm finding that the more I read, the more I want to read. Despite the fact that I read the books I already have multiple times. My Amazon.com wish list has become about 95% books. All because of a spark started by a good story told, in a movie, then being carried over into a book.

Again we are starting to see the approach of Faërie, that otherworldly aspect to the story, that greater reality shining through the existence of the visible world they're familiar with. Noticeably absent is the presence of a man in a trench coat. That horror aspect is currently missing from their realm, but still there is something going on that is more then what meets the eye. A nervousness hangs in the air, in a sense not only are the dangers and horrors perilous, but the wonderful things have a way of being perilous as well, but not in the same ways, it's more the peril of the decidedly dangerous Aslan. Dangerous, yes, but good. Gandalf and Gimli have a conversation in Fangorn Forest, Gandalf tells Gimli that he, that is Gandalf, is probably the most dangerous thing Gimli will ever encounter, unless he should be brought before the dark lord. In the Harry Potter books, who is the one that Lord Voldemort, whom most of the world fears to even say the name of, who is he afraid of? Albus Dumbledore, the school Headmaster. Lord Voldemort is terrified of Dumbledore. There is a great scene at the very end of the Goblet of Fire book where we see a glimpse of why this is so, Dumbledore is confronting The Minister for Magic with the truth, and Harry realizes then why Dumbledore is the one Wizard Voldemort ever feared. That is the wonderful peril. Whether it be Gandalf, Aslan, Dumbledore, or a bookshop, there is the wonderful peril. It's the peril The Fellowship finds upon entering Lothlórien, it terrifies Boromir, who at this point has a heart that is less then pure.

That is the peril that Johnny and Autumn are feeling. The sense of something great, or a hidden power, hiding just around the corner.

Once in the shop they encounter Nelly. Their encounter with Faërie has begun.

Speaking of Fangorn Forest, when Johnny says “I almost feel like I like the place.” and Nelly's response. “Almost feel like you like the bookstore.” then the description of her eye, then. “That's uncommonly kind of you.” reminds me of the encounter two young hobbits named Merry and Pippen had with the Faërie, those legends that seem to pop up out of the grown and walk under the light of the sun. The Ent Treebeard. I loved it, but then I am very fond of Hobbits.

The chapter ends with a new mystery unfolding, two actually. One, how is it that Nelly knows about them, and two, what could possibly be better then ice cream?

Chapter Eight: Geographical Anomaly

A hidden room, a strange painting, and and a mystery to be solved.

The room as it turns out is Nelly's private reading area. The mystery has yet to fully unfold, but we find another copy of the book, the book within a book, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. But in Johnny and Autumn's case, I think we are seeing, not so much those with eyes to see and ears to hear as those whose lives are being orchestrated for when they have eyes to see and ears to hear. They still have not quite encountered that which will change their lives forever. But, in time.

The conversation that follows is both humorous and believable. We are introduced to the character and personality of Autumn and Johnny. They argue a lot, true, but you can tell they don't really hate each other, they just have a loud relationship. Relationships are funny things, and in many ways every one is unique. We forget sometimes just how unique a person can be, and the strange ways that we can and do relate to each other. For Johnny and Autumn, it's sticking together like they've been glued, but arguing all the while.

Then, the world of Faërie comes crashing in. They open the book. And while they haven't quite touched the page yet, they recognize the illustration. Only Johnny, isn't quite ready for his encounter.

How very true, so often we encounter the wonderful, the mysterious, the beautiful, and we just let it pass on by, unnoticed, or barely noticed, or noticed and then ignored. Think about it, life, the fact that people are alive and breathing. That's wonderful, that's beautiful. Everyone you see out and about, they're beautiful, they're a living wonder. Yet how often are we quick to hurl insults or ignore them, both can be hurtful, to insult and to ignore. There is a world of wonder out there and we are blind to it.

The argument is brought to what my uncle would call “The Parental Unit”. The mom. After a quick and odd discussion about the book, Mrs. Briarman takes a look at it.

That's when we finally get a hint that something about this book is remarkable, and not just how it immerses the reader. It's more then that. This is the aspect that made me think of it as a character rather then an object. Mrs. Briarman sees it as Pioneers of the Western United States” by M. S. Ward, Esquire. That, incidentally is not at all what Johnny and Autumn see. For them it is The History of Berinfell, The Chronicles of the Elf Lords and Their Kin.

I enjoy this sense of mystery, this hiding of a larger story hidden just beneath the surface, and a book that seems to be aware of it's readers. Yet now, Autumn and Johnny are seeing the Western United States book, a very interesting book indeed.

I mentioned my uncle a moment ago. When Mrs. Briarman said that the cave in the woods was probably formed through erosion as glaciers receded, I immediately recalled the time I was riding in a car down in the Catskill mountains with my uncle, there was some sort of interesting geological feature and he told me about the glaciers. This somehow reminds me of my own childhood and the adventures my sister and I would go on with our aunt and uncle. That was the first time I'd ever heard about the glaciers. When you're a kid, picturing anything with that kind of power, doing that kind of thing, in your state, it is rather awe inspiring. Living in New York made Johnny and Autumn's sections of the book come alive in a personal sense as well.

The chapter ends with a bit of foreshadowing and a humorous note.

Chapter Nine: Lighting the Blue Beacons

We return now to Kat Simonson. Poor Miss Simonson is anxiously waiting. The dreaded “Please, see me after class.” question has come up, and it was directed to her.

And then there is the hearing voices, voices in her head. That is indeed frightening.

Her nervousness is more about the meeting with her teacher then the voices in her head at present, though the voices do come into play.

Then to her surprise he hands her a copy of the book, our peculiar, book within a book. Once again, we encounter the realm Faërie as it breaks through the hidden door into our very own realm. In many ways books are to us what this book is for Kat. Especially fantasy fiction. I mentioned how I came to have a love for reading, yet I can honestly say, that reading has changed me. I'm not the same person I was five years ago, and if I ask why, it is in large part, because of the books I read. Books can transform a person, they have a powerful ability to change the person who reads them. Knowing this I always have a bit of a nervousness myself right before I start reading a new book, I've had it happen before, most of the major changes in my thinking have been brought about by reading a book. When I read, it is entirely possible that when I finish reading that book, I'm not going to be the same person I was when I opened it. Fantasy, in particular is powerful for transforming the reader. Lord of the Rings changed me, when I finished with that, my view of life had become split into pre-Lord of the Rings and post-Lord of the Rings. The way I thought going into the book was not the way I thought coming out. Such changes have only strengthened and continued with each re-reading of Tolkien's masterpiece. Then along came young Harry Potter, the lost orphan child with no particular talent, except playing Quidditch, who nevertheless becomes the hero who saves his world from the evil Lord Voldemort. And with Edmund Pevensie, the traitor turned king, and with Eustace Scrubb, the boy turned dragon turned hero. Each time these are the stories that transform me.

In that sense, there are books in our own world that are rather like this book within The Curse of the Spider King.

However, with the power books have to transform, like with most things, that can be for good or for evil, books can be dangerous, not only can they transform us in a positive way, but they can corrupt our thinking. The last few hundred years we've seen the rise of various philosophies, philosophies that have arisen from books. That is one way that we have seen the more dangerous side of books. I mention that, and it is important to keep in mind. I once read an article or a book chapter, years ago, I believe it was by scholar John Granger that talked about Harry Potter's book within a book, this one is of the evil kind, Tom Riddle's Diary. Indeed it transforms, and almost destroys those who read it. Rowling herself warns, comically, of the dangers of books in the book Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Thankfully, near as I can tell at least, the book that Kat has is not the evil kind. She however is wondering that as she takes the book from Mr. Wallace.

Like Tommy, Autumn and Johnny, Kat is about to embark on reading the book. Embarking on an adventure she's not quite aware of beginning. So it tends to be with most great adventures. Samwise Gamgee says in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings:

“...adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of sport, as you might say. But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually – their paths laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten...”

That is the sort of adventure we find our heroes on. And while Mr. Wallace's desk is not Mordor, for Kat, like Frodo and Sam had chances of turning back, only she didn't.

Tolkien again, brings up the concept of a book within a book, he mentions that tale of Beren going to get the Silmaril from the Iron Crown in Thangorodrim. A tale within a tale, a surprisingly common theme, yet in Curse of the Spider King it has a fresh feel to it, perhaps it is because of the immersive quality of the book, or perhaps because the tale seems almost to be a living one. I have a suspicion that if one of our characters didn't read English, the book would be whatever language it was they could read. I don't recall that being said outright, but I have a suspicion that the book can do so.

Kat opens the book, and once she touches the words, once again we and Kat encounter the hidden, the strange book, strangely enough the section that Kat reads is a continuation of what Tommy has just read. Not only is this book aware of who is reading it, it seems to know where the others have left off. The book now reveals a few more clues, tells about the progress of the battle, and leads us into a whole different world.

It is in this chapter that we learn that the Elf children were taken. Once again, we are left with a mystery on our hands as the chapter closes.

Chapter Ten: Leaving the Sunlight.

We're still within the pages of the history book. We find a sliver of hope, there is a way of escape for those who live, yet to do so, means a great sacrifice, leaving their world as they knew it behind them for a dismal life where they may live. Here we also find a greater hope, we learn of Ellos. Defeat, yes, but there is hope. Hope has a way of being powerful, even when it is just the tiniest of slivers left, hope is like a seed, it can grow. There is a way to escape, a hidden passageway that leads to Nightwish Cavern. The name I find to be a rather amusing choice, I'm guessing that it is the work of Wayne Thomas Batson. Nightwish, if you're not familiar with music, is the name of a symphonic metal band. I like it.

The kingdom of the Elves is in shambles, the Lords are dead, the children are taken, it is unknown how many will survive, things look very grim indeed for the Elves.

But there is hope. One of my favorite lines from The Lord of the Rings films is in The Two Towers, when Viggo Mortensen's character Aragorn says: “There is always hope.”

I don't recall that being in the book Lord of the Rings, but that is one of my favorite lines in Middle-Earth.

So it is with our characters here, all seems lost, all is lost, but a small remnant of hope remains.

Then view changes, we learn a couple interesting details through the remainder of the chapter, one of them is the presence of churches, for a church sanctuary needs a church to be a sanctuary in. I find this one line of dialog interesting, and it fits into place with what heard a page or two back about Ellos, I believe that Ellos, is what The Elves call God.

Near the end of this very grim chapter, we meet a little child, A small Elf child. The child wants to know, will there be any spiders in their new home. They assure the child that there will be no spiders. One other thing, they call the child an Elfling.

That one made me stop in my tracks as I was reading, but only because I've been using that term for a couple of years now to refer to Elf children, it was funny to see it in another book.

We see that there is a saying. “Endurance and Victory,” this seems to be a common phrase among the Elves, yet the very end of this chapter ends with the thought that they might endure, but there would be no victory, not yet. Defeat would have been, but thankfully the word today is on the end.

“There is always hope.”

Chapter Eleven: Lifeflight

A new character. Mr. Jett Green. A football player and motorbike enthusiast.

He can't wait to use his new motocross bike, a sense of excitement is there. He's getting ready for his big day when he looks into the mirror, and behold, his eyes, they're not brown, they're deep violet. We're also introduced to his parents Austin and Hazel.

I'll move on to the next scene, he's at the Motocross Park, he's ready to go, he gives his new bike a trial, and it succeeds beautifully. However with his growing confidence there is a growing danger. He takes on the Monster, only to crash. In the chaos and confusion that follows, it turns out that he has had a serious accident, but is somehow still aware, sort of, the world around him, he doesn't even realize just how badly he's injured. He's awake enough to hear someone say “fatal”.

Jett basically finds himself in a world of his own, unable to feel things and paralized, yet aware of who is around him.

Chapter Twelve: Mr. Miracle

He finds himself, alive, but in the hospital. He still doesn't quite know what's going on. But what is going on, is something remarkable.

Jett, is kind of having a reverse experience then the others. Instead of Faërie being found by him, it has rather found him. So it is, sometimes we were minding our own business when something seems to just come out of the blue and lead us through the wardrobe into Narnia.

I recall how I began writing. Like with reading, I wasn't really into it growing up. I still don't really know why, it's not like I really had any examples or anything, but one day the webmaster for a writing website for homeschoolers, ApricotPie.com, asked me if would be interested in writing for them once a month. I do not know why they asked, like I said, I don't recall having any examples of my writing or anything. I accepted. Now I am working on my first manuscript. I'm astounded, because I didn't really do much of anything, it's not an adventure I went out and pursued so much as an adventure that seems to be pursuing me. Looking back I believe it was the hand of God that worked the website writing, for no logical reason, episode out. I probably wouldn't be writing today if not for that.

In this chapter we see that Jett had broken just about every bone in his body, not to mention a number of serious wounds. Not only was he more aware then he should have been, he was suddenly completely healed. We see that something is different about Jett, and it's not only his changing eyes. We shall see why this is so, and that there are other aspects to Jett that he is not aware of.

The last lines in this chapter I happen to find rather amusing. The doctor says to his mom. “You better watch out for this kid. With eyes like those, girls will be chasing him all over school.” I find this amusing because in my own story there is an Elf who is regularly chased down the street by “Crazy American Fangirls”. To the point where his terrified of Americans. I put it in my story because my Grandmother used to tell me that it would happen to me. “All the girls will chase you down the street because you're so handsome!” she'd say. Thankfully, so far at any rate, my grandmother's words have not proven to be true. I have yet to be chased by anyone.

I was hoping to write the whole book, unfortunately I have not finished past this point, it turned out to be far more time consuming a project then I expected, I will be posting it in four post as I complete each quarter over the next few weeks.

Curse of the Spider King - Amazon.com Link

Wayne Thomas Batson’s blog - http://enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com

Christopher Hopper’s Web site - http://www.christopherhopper.com

The Berinfell Prophecies Web site - http://www.heedtheprophecies.com/

Participants’ Links:

Brandon Barr

Justin Boyer

Amy Browning

Valerie Comer

Amy Cruson

CSFF Blog Tour

Stacey Dale

D. G. D. Davidson

Shane Deal

Jeff Draper

Emmalyn Edwards

April Erwin

Karina Fabian

Todd Michael Greene

Ryan Heart

Timothy Hicks

Becky Jesse

Cris Jesse

Jason Joyner


Carol Keen

Krystine Kercher

Tina Kulesa

Melissa Lockcuff

Rebecca LuElla Miller



John W. Otte

Cara Powers

Chawna Schroeder

James Somers

Speculative Faith

Robert Treskillard

Fred Warren

Jason Waguespac

Phyllis Wheeler

Jill Williamson

KM Wilsher


Fred Warren said...

Wow, this is wonderful stuff, Shane. Please do finish this. Loved the bit about the blue dye. :)

S. J. Deal said...

Thanks. I have a few small projects to finish up before I can back to it, but I do plan to finish it.

The blue dye is funny, looking back on it now.

Robert Treskillard said...

Amazing effort, Shane!

You should offer to Wayne and Chris to put together a study guide for the book. Clubs, etc. use these as a discussion starting points.

Well done!

WayneThomasBatson said...

Shane, seriously, that is a boatload of commentary. I'm really impressed and thankful for your dedication to the book and the overall mission of all our books.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

WOW, is right! Great insights. I'm with Robert. This material is too good to stay in a corner of the blogging world.

Here's one line I especially loved--your insight into the characters: They allow us to face our fears, hopes, dreams, losses, and heartaches in a relatively safe environment. Whether we like it or not, life is full of these exact things.

Great stuff!


S. J. Deal said...

Robert: Thanks! I never thought of that. I might have to consider offering to do that. Thanks again.

Thanks Wayne! I'm glad you like it, I have fun doing it.

Thanks Becky. Glad you liked it.

I'm really blessed by your comments.


James Matthewson said...

Wow. I have been looking forward to this series ever since I first heard about it. The Curse of the Spider King looks incredible, and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy. I read about half of your chapter-by-chapter review before stopping. Don't want to ruin the surprise ;). I will definitely return here after reading the book. You have great insight into literary works such as this, Shane. Keep up the good work!