Beyond Seaside


CL Dautel
I grew up in rural Kansas, where there was plenty of time for reading.  My mother (an English teacher) took my sisters and I with great frequency to the library.  My imagination developed rather effusively; I was certain, for instance, that a little man with a poison dart gun lived among More...


Beyond Seaside is Book One in an absorbing tale of adventure for readers ten and up.  It incorporates fantasy, humor, and plenty of suspense.  The characters are vibrant and likable (except, of course, for those who aren’t).

The story follows Will, who awakens one day to the worst kind of identity crisis:   he is alone in the wilderness with no recollection of how he got there, or even of anyone he’s ever known.  Awash in confusion, he sets out in search of civilization and answers.  He finds civilization first.   The colorful village of Seaside sits snug between the mountains and the sea.  In Seaside, everyone knows everyone else—but none of them admits to knowing Will.  It doesn’t help that he has emerged from a forest all sensible people know to avoid, or that odd happenings seem to trail him like a shadow. 

A cynical widow named Marna offers him board in exchange for labor.  One of her sons—insecure, peevish Brenner—tries his hardest to make Will’s life miserable.  But his older brother, Jornan, becomes Will’s most valued friend.  Will also finds a friend in Jornan’s gregarious cousin, Kye, and in a runaway girl (Pascal) who is hiding in a ruin north of town.

As time passes, he decides he doesn’t much want to know his identity, after all.  He has good reason to suspect he wouldn’t like it.  He also suspects that at least one person in Seaside does know it.  When a magnificent ship arrives in the village harbor, a sinister plan comes to light; and Will is forced to flee for his life.  Jornan, Kye, and Pascal join him, each for a different reason.

The four escape into a land of legends—the forests and the mountains beyond Seaside.  Here they evade pursuers, meet a good-hearted woodland tribe, and encounter a perilous enchantress.  They make their way to the great walled city of Alton.  Alton is easy enough to get into; getting out is quite another matter.

All the while, Will moves closer and closer to the truth…whether he likes it, or not.