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A Novel by Marva Dasef
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Tags: arabian nights, djinn, genie, childrens books, fantasy, magic, middle-eastern fantasy, mythology, folklore, flying horse, merman, merboy, dragons, middle-grade, teen, YA
Release: August 17, 2012
Editor: Nancy Bell
Line Editor: Penny Ehrenkranz
Cover Designer: Charlotte Volnek
Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar on his threadbare rug; a cup and sign proclaim him a teller of tales. For one small coin, he bids passers by to listen. A poor girl, Najda, sells spices from a tray. Would he, she asks, trade a tale for a packet of spice? Abu Nuwas agrees and begins the epic adventures of a girl and her genie.
As did Scheherazade before him, Abu leaves Najda hanging in the middle of each yarn to keep her coming back.
He relates the adventures of the bored daughter of a rich merchant, Setara, and her genie, Basit, as they encounter the creatures of legend and folklore: a lonely cave demon seeking a home; a flying, fire-breathing horse who has lost his mate; a dragon searching for his family; an evil genie hunting for the man who put him in a lamp; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.
In just the time that Sulawesi guessed it would take them, the little troop arrived at a dune overlooking the cove where the thieves’ galleon lay in the water. The thieves were already at the beach, preparing a pair of small skiffs to row out to the galleon. The thieves tied the stolen horses together, one horse to the next; nose to tail. A sailor on the ship was rigging a sling to the yardarm. Clearly, they were planning to make the horses swim out to the galleon.
“We need to hurry before they leave the beach, or we’ll not catch them,” Setara said.
“I’m sure I can find something to delay their departure,” Basit replied.
“Allow me,” Sulawesi said, spreading his wings. He soared down toward the beached skiffs. The rest of the troop went over the top of the dune and hurried toward the thieves as fast as they could through the shifting sand.
Setara gasped as she struggled to run but made little progress. “Basit, can you make this a bit easier? Make the ground hard.”
Basit waved his hand, and the sand became firm beneath their feet, allowing the motley crew of adventurers to run toward the captured horses.
The thieves looked up, pulling out knives and swords. Setara thought maybe she hadn’t planned this out well enough but drew her own small knife and hoped for the best. A scimitar appeared in Basit’s hand. The two demons bared their claws and fangs. Hasib puffed real flames with every leap. Sheik barked furiously as he ran. Setara hoped they looked fearsome as they dashed toward the thieves.
The thieves also had a formidable array of sharp weaponry and did not appear afraid of the strange group attacking them. The two groups met in a clash of swords, knives, howling demons, a diving eagle, a leaping dog, and a flame-throwing horse.
“Let go of those horses!” Setara screamed and leaped at a thief. She slashed her knife downward, cutting a long rent in the thief’s sleeve. He rounded on her with a sword, and she held her knife up to block. The sword slid off her knife blade, but the man immediately drew back his arm again. She was not ready with her knife, so she ducked her head, hoping to evade the sword slash. She heard a scream and looked up to see the thief flying away from her. “What the...”
A snort that sounded much like a laugh came from her left. She turned to see Hasib with a horsy grin on his long face and his powerful hind legs hitting the ground where the thief had been a mere second before.
All around, her friends were struggling with the thieves. Those confronted by Azizah and Kairav lost their will to fight and went running down the beach as fast as their legs could carry them in the loose sand. Setara thought it was a wonderful thing to have demon friends.
Sheik had bitten down on the arm of one of the thieves and was shaking the man back and forth. Basit laid about with swift strokes of his scimitar, forcing the men back toward the ocean. Unfortunately, another skiff had just come ashore with several more pirates. The thieves now outnumbered them nearly three to one.
“Basit! You must do something,” Setara shouted. Basit didn’t seem to hear her as he beat off the attack of one of the thieves. She wondered why he didn’t use magic but had no time to think about it. She saw a thief slash down on Kairav, sending the pool demon staggering back with a deep cut, blue blood pouring down his brawny arm. Another smacked Azizah on the side of the head, sending her reeling. Sheik yelped in pain, but Setara could not spare a moment to look while she fended off a muscular thief wielding a heavy club.
Things weren’t going very well at all.
“Basit! Enhance Hasib’s powers. Let him fly and breathe fire of his own will!”
This time Basit heard her. He waved his scimitar in a circle over his head and yelled, “Hasib, you have control of your powers! Fly! Breathe fire on the ship!”
“I don’t think I can.” Hasib puffed a small spurt of flame. “I can’t control it!”
Basit cried out, “Alakazaam!” and waved one hand in the air—the one not occupied with a scimitar. “Just try!” the genie yelled then turned back to the pirate trying to hit him with a club.
Hasib hesitated only a moment. He stood still with his head down, concentrating; then suddenly lifted into the air. At first, only the usual three feet, but then he soared up higher. He was flying! He rapidly headed out to the ship, took aim, and breathed a huge column of fire toward the sails. With a great whoosh, they went up in flames.
The thieves, seeing this feat, stopped fighting and looked at each other. As with one thought, they all started to run. While battling demons and genies didn’t deter them, a flying horse who breathed flames seemed to be more than they bargained for.
Hasib circled the ship with Sulawesi flying by his side, shrieking his approval. The sailors on the galleon jumped overboard and swam away from the burning ship. Another skiff launched from the far side of the ship carrying two men. A pirate tried to climb aboard the small boat but was beaten off with an oar.
The fighting snuffed out as quickly as it started. The friends gathered around and watched Hasib and Sulawesi flying loop-de-loops. The two air-borne creatures then landed on the beach nearby with only minor skidding and sand kicking.
About the Author:
Marva Dasef lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a fat white cat. Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation. Marva has published more than thirty-five stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with her stories included in several Best of anthologies, and several books in print and e-book formats.
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Customer Reviews:suepernz (Thursday, 04 October 2012)
MarvaD (Monday, 03 September 2012)
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Elixir is fantasy at its best. Katie Caroll draws us into her world with ease, her well-polished writing style and flow holding us captive until the end. I especially liked the relationship between Katora and her sister Kylene, obviously drawn from real life. I can't wait to read the sequel.
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