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The Secret (Fairendale)
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A magical boy. A jealous king. A dangerous discovery. The Secret is a dark but invigorating beginning to an epic fantasy series inspired by well known fairy tales, fables and nursery rhymes, from award-winning author L.R. Patton. This fast-paced literary fantasy is perfect for fans of Harry Potter, The Land of Stories and the Earthsea series. King Willis is a dreadful king--cruel, ostentatious, and (dare we say it?) large. The kingdom of Fairendale is the most beautiful of all the lands, and he is the one who rules it. How very fortunate. But the king carries a dark secret that he has passed along to his son, Prince Virgil--a secret that could mean the loss of Fairendale's throne. And when a prophetess shows up at the castle with the news that there is another boy, born in the village, who carries the gift of magic--the single most important requirement for ruling the kingdom of Fairendale--Prince Virgil must now decide between saving his best friend or saving an entire village. The Secret is the first episode in Season 1 of Fairendale, a magical middle grade series that explores the world of fairy tales, dragons, wizards, and other magical creatures. The world of Fairendale revolves around villains and heroes--all on a quest for what they believe is right. But one cannot always know, at first glance, who is the villain and who is the hero. Throughout the series, the story of King Willis and his determination to keep the throne is woven into the story of his son, Prince Virgil, heir to the throne and friend to the village children, and the story of fairy tale children fleeing for their lives--children who become what we know as fairy tale villains, for one good reason or another. But, remember, one cannot always know, at first glance, who is the villain and who is the hero.
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"Fans of The Tales of Despereaux or The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making will feel right at home in this delightful fairy tale series. It has all the feeling and elements of epic fantasy pitched perfectly at the 7-12 year old crowd. My 7 year old and I took turns reading it to each other at bedtime and are very much looking forward to the next episode." -M. Dumas "R.L. Toalson is gifted. I don't use that word lightly, but when it fits, it fits. In The Secret, episode one of the "Fairendale" series, she has created a mythical world that is at once enchanting and frightening. The book contains all the elements you could hope for in a fairy tale--magic, dragons, mermaids (and we're not talking Ariel here), kings and queens, and, of course, the classic battle of good versus evil. For me, however, what sets this book apart is the language. After reading the lush descriptions that populate the story, I have no doubt this author has the soul of a poet. But her depictions aren't abstruse; you don't have to stop reading and ponder the images she's attempting to convey. They just flow. The Secret proves how literature aimed at middle-grade readers can be both entertaining and a model of first-rate writing--for that group and adults, as well." -Joe Pandolfi

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