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The Circle at the Hollow Tree

The Circle at the Hollow Tree

By Billy Roberts

First edition, 2016. Illustrations by June Lornie. Portlaoise: Evertype. ISBN 978-1-78201-137-8 (paperback), price: €15.95, £12.95, $17.95.

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Zedda and Simon scrambled free of their hiding-place in the bushes and started to run quickly in the opposite direction to the goblins. But as Simon looked back to check the goblins’ progress, he clumsily tripped over the roots of an old tree and fell to the ground. Within moments the goblins were upon him, standing over him grinning menacingly.

“Don’t be afraid of us,” said one of the goblins.

“Don’t be afraid of us,” repeated the other goblin.

“That’s right,” said the first goblin. “Don’t be afraid of us.”

“That’s right,” repeated the other goblin. “Don’t be afraid of us.”

Simon lay back on the soft ground and moved his eyes from one goblin to the other. He thought he was hearing an echo inside his head, but then realized that one goblin was repeating everything the other goblin had said. They appeared stupid and not at all dangerous, and Simon did not feel that they were in any way a threat. He relaxed and swung his head round to see where Zedda had gone, and could see his friend standing a short distance away, his hands pressed defiantly into his sides, as he usually did when he wanted to appear brave. It was obvious to Simon that the goblins could see him too.

Hollow Tree

The Circle at the Hollow Tree on the Devreux estate in Cornwall is a collection of ancient standing stones—but one of the many urban myths that abound is that it is also a portal from this world to the Jesnick Kingdom, a secret inner world supervised by a gnome-like race whose sole existence is dependent on the balance and sanctity of nature. The Jesnick people are also the custodians of the ancient Crystal of Rohm, an energy source that prevents Lithom’s cruel lieutenants, goblins, giants, and many other evil forces, from entering the Jesnick Kingdom, thus stopping them from gaining access into our world. Lithom is the anonymous, infamous leader of the kingdom of giants, and their subservient goblins, whose power extends across all of Zilon, causing fear to be felt in the hearts of all its inhabitants. It is said, that the perpetrators of evil in our world, unwittingly empower Lithom’s men, giving them the strength to destroy the Jesnick Kingdom and the power to take control of our world.

Born into a wealthy Cornish family, ten-year-old Simon Halifax is cruel to animals, and has no regard whatsoever for anyone but himself. His continual abuse of nature and his privileged life have contributed to the empowerment of Lithom’s army and causes him to be drawn into the Jesnick Kingdom, where he is finally forced to face the creations of his own malevolence. Accompanied by Zedda, one of the Jesnick people, Simon Halifax journeys across the dangerous terrain of Zilon, the land of two suns, en route to the Golden Temple, in the Mountains of Time, to collect the Crystal of Rohm from the Holy Brethren, who had borrowed it from the Jesnick people until their own depleted powers had fully recovered. The many ordeals young Simon Halifax faces finally help him to discover exactly who he really is, and what he is truly capable of.

HTML Michael Everson, Evertype, 73 Woodgrove, Portlaoise, R32 ENP6, Ireland, 2016-02-29

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