Thursday, February 19, 2009

Local author's debut novel is not just kid stuff

Murder, revenge, intrigue, conspiracy. All these little nuggets that take a novel from being just a mere story to becoming an epic journey are packed into “Maradonia and the Seven Bridges.” The mystical Maradonia is a world between worlds, a Technicolor place filled with more wizardry and magic than Harry Potter could shake his wand at.

And the author is just 14 years old.

From the never-ending imagination of young Gloria Tesch of Palm Harbor comes an adventure of legendary proportions. Two ordinary teens, Maya and her brother Joey, discover the way to the Land of Maradonia while on a Goonies-like expedition to the forbidden Pebble Beach. The world they uncover is full of turmoil, its people in peril from the evil King Apollyon.

Up until this, Maya and Joey had led ordinary lives in an ordinary place, where their greatest challenge had been the everyday minutia of fitting in at a new school, a trial most children can readily identify with. Now, the fate of an entire kingdom and its faithful dwellers is up to them.
In this, Tesch explores the very adult issues of responsibility and faith, and the age-old theme of enduring strength in the face of temptations and tough tests. Maya and Joey discover their true inner selves along the way, battling an underworld capable of deceit, revenge and murder.

“Maradonia and the Seven Bridges” is a story of substance, richly written with lush description and imagination. Its visual nature begs for the cinema. Plan to invest time in this saga, though: your trip to Maradonia will run over 800 pages, ninety chapters full of twists and turns and surprises around every magical corner. And while Tesch provides a satisfying ending for readers, don’t get comfortable just yet. Not all loose ends have been neatly tied; “Maradonia and the Seven Bridges” is the first leg in a trilogy.

Filled with mystical illustrations and scenes of pure whimsy, this debut novel is aimed at an audience of young adult readers. However, the timeless theme of good versus evil will appeal to any age group. And through this, a lesson: ordinary people can do the extraordinary. Children can lead a nation of people.

Hefty issues for such a young author to tackle, but Tesch smoothly accomplishes this and more in her freshman novel. No doubt, more fantastic tales are to come from this untapped talent. For more about Gloria and the Land of Maradonia visit