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Chantarelle (paperback)

Book 2 of the Five Stones Trilogy

Softcover, 336 pages, Middle Grade Adventure / Fantasy, Ages 10+

ISBN: 978-1-934031-12-4

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$14.95

Available as an e-book in these formats:

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About this Book:

In Book Two of The Five Stones Trilogy, Chase, determined to fulfill his promise to find the unifying Fifth Stone, finds the elusive Captain Nate and brings him back to the island of Ayda, where one realm is burning and two others are under siege from Dankar’s dark forces of Exor. Meanwhile, Knox and Evelyn must trust a mysterious guide to help them find a way back to Ayda, though each has their own personal struggle to overcome. All three children must decide if they can put their own needs—and fears—aside to save their friends and family.
Chantarelle (paperback) by G.A. Morgan
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"Morgan's ambitious plot ties up loose ends from Book 1 while creating additional tangles as it delves deeper into the power struggle on Ayda. . . This is a strong-boned story that is full of adventure and worldbuilding, and it neatly avoids middle-book syndrome. An adventure suffused with philosophical offerings that will appeal to readers who enjoy rich fantasy." —Kirkus Reviews

"This is a fast moving fantasy novel which will be enjoyed by readers of varying skill levels. A great deal of backstory is conveyed through the story element of the “fog of forgetting” which causes the children to forget what has happened in Ayda upon leaving, allowing readers new to the series to begin at the second book and still leap fully into the story. Much of the world-building occurs in the first book in the series, but readers of the first book will particularly appreciate the character growth afforded the young protagonists in this second volume. This vivid fantasy is particularly recommended for middle grade readers who enjoyed Suzanne Collins’s Gregor the Overlander (Scholastic, 2004/VOYA October 2003)." —Sherrie Williams, VOYA Magazine

"It is a welcome reminder that within childhood, endless possibilities for magic and bravery exist in worlds shared only between children . . . Ayda is not so different from Narnia, nor are the caves on the coast different from the magical wardrobe. Magic and fantasy, according to this author, are where you look for them." —Maine Sunday Telegram

My Fantasy Island

My Fantasy Island

By G. A. Morgan

My Fantasy Island first appeared in Islandport Magazine, Fall 2017.

I grew up on two islands—Manhattan in New York and Mount Desert in Maine. Despite their vast differences, I see them as bridged—both by my memories and by a sunken span of prehistoric dirt far beneath the Atlantic. Two separate worlds, connected in the deep.

Islands have always captivated my imagination. They possess distinct rhythms, ecosystems, and cultures. They are simultaneously impenetrable to outsiders (those born from “away”) yet vulnerable to attack from all sides. They stand fiercely apart, mysterious and hard-to-get-to, but not impossible. They rise like a challenge to the mainlander, offering fertile ground for a writer, especially one with a love of myth and a romantic nostalgia for long childhood summers spent on Frenchman’s Bay. It came as no surprise to me that when I began to create an imaginary world for The Five Stones Trilogy, it took the form of an island—the island of Ayda.

The name “Ayda” is an unrepentant tribute to Acadia (which comes from the French, la cadie, or “the place,”), the national park on Mount Desert Island, and to Arda (for you J.R.R. Tolkien fans). The world of Ayda I created is surrounded by a (supposedly) impenetrable wall of fog. Time on Ayda stopped before the advent of the combustible engine or firearms, and the people of its four distinct regions—Metria, Melor, Exor, and Varuna—live in and amongst the beauty and dangers of the natural (and supernatural) world. Each region is named for and governed by a stone of power and its Keeper. All desire the return of the legendary Fifth Stone, lost in the last Great Battle for Ayda more than five hundred years ago.

Sea Voyage

At the time my story begins in The Fog of Forgetting, five young people (ages six to thirteen) have begun a relatively normal summer vacation in a small village on the coast of Maine. Before long, however, they are on a boat, lost in the fog, and swept onto the shores of a place that feels both familiar and strange. To me, this juxtaposition of known and unknown (or déja vu, as Evelyn describes in the first book) is a constant theme in the trilogy. It parallels my own experience growing into adulthood. I was always myself, only different. Becoming. I wanted to tell a story about a sea voyage in which five ordinary kids go on a journey that forever changes them—for what is childhood except a journey from one state of being to another?

The geography of Ayda bears an uncanny resemblance to Mount Desert Island (MDI) when you first encounter it. Much of the terrain of Melor was inspired directly by my childhood explorations. Other regions on Ayda were inspired by such places as Central America, the Great Plains, and the Caribbean, but the island’s soul lies in the landscape of MDI—as anyone who has ever visited Acadia National Park will recognize when they read the books. Those explorations felt unique to me, though they would be familiar to other children who are blessed with a long vacation in the summer or who—as was true in my case—also have parents either too busy, too sad, or too hands-off to hover. I played Kick the Can across Islesford (Little Cranberry Island). I jumped off cliffs on the backside of Sutton Island. I sailed on Northeast Harbor. I rode my bike to the Great Harbor and made wheelies in the church parking lot. I rowed across the channel from Southwest Harbor to Greenings Island at night with my best friend to secretly explore the private beaches. I had my first kiss on the rocks by my house under a starry August sky. And every day, in those days before GPS and cellphones, there were boats and dead engines and the threat of fog.

Like a Fever Dream

There was also the everyday wildness of the forest, the sea, and the mountains of Mount Desert Island, which, for a city kid, was like a fever dream. Anyone who has seen the hallucinatory green of moss carpeting a boulder or been tripped by snake-like pine roots across a path or watched as a squall rages out at sea knows what I am talking about—and that’s before I try to describe the fury of a school of boiling pogies, or the sudden appearances of porpoises and otters, or the special smell of the ocean in that part of the world. Magic of an elemental kind is very much alive on MDI, and as a kid, running free around her shorelines and woods and streets, I felt it in my bones. I still do. It’s no mistake that the outline of Ayda resembles a human heart—its inspiration stole mine a long time ago.

When not out exploring, many of my afternoons during those childhood summers were spent immersed in epic stories that shaped me. In addition to The Lord of the Rings, I was obsessed with Dune, the Chronicles of Narnia, and the Oz series. I also enjoyed any books that made it feel as if magic and adventure were right there for the taking if only one could be open to them; books like Mary Poppins, Five Children and It, Half-Magic, and Swallows and Amazons.

As for my own imaginings, however, I wanted to tell a story with New World underpinnings and speak to American history. For this reason, and many others, Ayda is set in the North Atlantic, off the coast of Maine and Newfoundland. I knew that Portuguese explorers traveled to Penobscot Bay in the early 1500s, during the time when the Wabanaki Indians paddled their birch-bark canoes to the shores of Pemetic (their name for Mount Desert Island). Early explorers reputedly kidnapped some Wabanaki from the coast of Maine to sell as slaves in Europe, an abuse I allude to in the prologue to Chantarelle. While the French explorer Samuel de Champlain gets all the credit for discovering—and naming—L’isle des Monts-déserts (Island of Bare Mountains), in 1604, it was the Portuguese who first laid eyes on the place around 1525, naming it Rio de Montanas (River of Mountains). This is why Captain Nate, one of the heroes in my books, is Portuguese. His narrative, in all its ambition and betrayal, echoes the history of the opening of the New World. It is also why Haiti (a country on another island) plays such a central role in the books.

The Five Stones Trilogy grew out of a desire to enshrine a fleeting moment in time in my memory, and then exponentially expand it to include so much more. In it, I connect a real island to an imaginary one. My childhood to five fictional ones. Our collective history to my own fantasies. I hoped the story would bridge the past and the present, the old world and the new, and, most importantly, the visible to the invisible, so that readers, like the one I once was, would feel that adventure is always close at hand. And that the power to be greater than you think you are lies waiting inside you. Like that murky prehistoric ridge under the Atlantic that connects the islands of my youth, I think of Ayda behind her wall of fog, hidden and unfathomable, promising an ever-refreshed world where inhabitants feel the magic that is all around them and the deep connections we all share. Every time I do, I get the same feeling I have whenever I leave Mount Desert Island—I long to go back.

G. A. Morgan is the author of The Fog of Forgetting, Chantarelle, and The Kinfolk—also known as The Five Stones Trilogy—which have all just been released in softcover format.



G.A. Morgan

About this Author

G.A. Morgan spent all of her childhood summers on an island in Maine, where she discovered that many secrets lie deep in the fog. She was formerly the managing editor of Chronicle Books bef

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