Reader’s book

Today Reader Don Bredes published a new book, which falls in the category”Young adult fantasy” (a fast-growing genre!). You can find it on either Amazon or the publisher’s website, Green Writers Press.

Here’s the Amazon blurb:

Set in a much-diminished America called the Christian Protectorates, a poor country ravaged by coastal flooding, drought, and catastrophic social upheaval, the novel features 15-year-old Polly Lightfoot, a maiden witch of deep heritage and tender ability in the craft.  When her identity is exposed, Polly is forced to flee New Florida, where she has taken refuge from a military purge of the country’s infidels, pagans, and followers of false creeds.  With the help of her steadfast familiar, a raven named Balthazar, and her brave teenage companion, Leon, Polly undertakes a harrowing journey from the troubled south to the wild north to rejoin her people in Vermont and save her ancient craft from obliteration.

Polly and the One and Only World presents a frighteningly vivid depiction of our stricken land in the stifling grip of fundamentalists and suffering the grim consequences of climate calamity.  Yet the story’s dire vision will inspire readers of every age to appreciate their own freedom and their capacity, today, to work for positive social and political change.

Given that it deals with the evils of fundamentalism, there’s a WARNING from the publisher:

We are aware that in some communities the book’s controversial themes will encounter threats of banning—which does not deter us in the least from publishing it.  This is a novel that will move youthful minds and stir valuable and timely discussion wherever it finds readers.  Watch for it—OCTOBER 6TH PUB DATE.

And, as Don wrote me, “This is a book that, in the end, stands to inspire younger readers (and older ones, too) to resist theocratic oppression in this country and to support policies that protect the world that has nurtured all of us for thousands of years.”

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 10.39.05 AM

It might make a nice Christmas present for heathen teens.


  1. GBJames
    Posted October 6, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    “It might make a nice Christmas present for heathen teens.”

    And perhaps non-heathen ones could benefit even more!

    • Posted October 6, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Maybe even non-heathen non-teens….


      • Posted October 6, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        Those teens even more, Ben, absolutely right.

  2. Posted October 6, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    “maiden witch”

    I’d be much happier to see the book if the protagonist weren’t of the same ilk as those who persecute her.

    • Posted October 6, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Greg, please let me explain that in POLLY, the magic stands in deliberate contrast to religious spell-casting, like exorcism, for example, or even prayer. Most readers of fantasy fiction recognize that magic spells are not real; yet at the same time many, if not most, readers also believe that prayer is effective and that angels and demons and mythological places, like hell and heaven, may be real. In the world of the novel these two categories of supernatural belief exist on the same plane, where they belong.

      • Posted October 6, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, you lost me at witchcraft. Is that really necessary? How can it not make the whole endeavor hypocritical? I guess I should read it before passing judgment. The the phrase witchcraft, however, makes that extremely unlikely to happen.

        • Posted October 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

          I think you and Greg are being too harsh on Don — this is, after all, a fantasy novel.

          Were Pullman’s His Dark Materials books any less effectively anti-religious because his characters had daemons?


          • Posted October 6, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

            * Italics should close after “fantasy”. Sorry.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted October 7, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

            No, because in Pullman’s universe the daemons were a natural part of being a human being. Cutting them off (excising? IIRC) was as traumatic and damaging for the compound organism in the same way that … hmmm, what’s a real-world parallel? As traumatic as separating “Siamese” twins in adulthood.
            It’s Pullman’s universe – he can make his own rules, as long as he doesn’t change them half-way through. Which is why I’m happy to classify it as science fiction not fantasy, despite the gods, angels, ghosts and what not.
            If you want another SF treatment of gods, angels, etc, try Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality series.

            • Posted October 7, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

              But presumably in Don’s world, witchcraft is a natural part of reality … Don?


        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 6, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          I agree with Ant, this is a fantasy genre and magic makes her appear as “the other”.

        • darrelle
          Posted October 6, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          I’m also in agreement with Ant. I’ve got no gripes about someone not liking fantasy, but in my opinion it is somewhat ridiculous to call the author a hypocrite because he uses the medium of fantasy writing to criticize religion. Using such mediums to reflect on the human condition is SOP.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted October 6, 2014 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

            I was struck by the apparent irony of CC recommending a book of fantasy – but if it’s good enough for Terry Pratchett…

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted October 7, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

        Hi Don,
        While this genre doesn’t float my boat, I see enough reviews of the genre going past in Fantasy and Science Fiction, I do see a lot of reviews going past there, so I guess that they might be a worthwhile target for a reviewer copy. If you or your publisher haven’t already sent one.

  3. normbear
    Posted October 6, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Hi Jerry,

    As long as you’re plugging readers’ books, here’s mine:

    It’s probably too edgy for you to publicly endorse, but I thought you might find it interesting, and it’s a free download for the next couple of days.

    Thanks for your good work.


    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted October 6, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      There are holes in the wookwork again.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted October 7, 2014 at 7:18 am | Permalink

        Sounds almost as unreadable as Zen and the Art of Morotcycle Maintenance.
        And now I’m wondering what a Morot is, or should be. A motorist with learning difficulties? I shall think as I swim!

  4. Posted October 6, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Congrats Don! Looks great.

    I’ve just got a sample of this on my Kindle – I think I might enjoy it myself!

    • Posted October 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Hmm… is charging for this “giveaway” chapter!


  5. Posted October 6, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I am glad that Don choose to make witchcraft part of the story. My niece is fifteen and I’ve watched her graduate from Harry Potter to Freakonomics and if she didn’t start off with books about teenaged wizards, she may never have discovered her love of reading. I’ll check out the book and if it is good I will get Cassidy a copy for Christmas.

  6. Mark Joseph
    Posted October 6, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Congrats to Don (and to every other published author!). I’m looking forward to it.

  7. Fry
    Posted October 6, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Sounds great – love to see it made into a movie – double bill it after “God is (not) Dead” as the rebuttal feature. Dying to see the fundies rage over their spot-on portrayal as evil oppressors.

  8. Posted October 7, 2014 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    I’ve described the book here and there as a sort of American GOLDEN COMPASS (Pullman) with echoes of THE ROAD (McCarthy). Polly’s heritage and her abilities ensure that she will be reviled, feared, and pursued by her Christian oppressors.

    At the start of the novel, the Faith and Redemption Amendment has just become law, mandating that “all the heretics, apostates, and followers of false creeds anywhere in the Protectorates had 90 days to register for assignment to a ReBirthing facility or apply for bondservant status. Anyone who failed to comply with the FRA, citizen or outlier, would face arrest and exile, consignment to a work camp, or death.” So, Polly must try to hide, seek safety in exile, or risk imprisonment and execution.

    • Posted October 7, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      I hope that, in the UK, you’ve described it as a sort of American NORTHERN LIGHTS … 😃


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