Chosen Ones (The Aedyn Chronicles Series)

( 30 )


“Engaging Fantasy”— Kirkus Review

The land of Aedyn is a paradise beyond all imagining. But when this paradise falls, strangers from another world must be called to fight for the truth.

Peter and Julia never suspected that a trip to their grandparents’ home in Oxford would contain anything out of the ordinary ... That was before Julia stumbled upon a mysterious garden that shone on moonless nights. It was no accident that she fell into the pool, pulling her brother along with ...

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Chosen Ones (The Aedyn Chronicles Series)

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“Engaging Fantasy”— Kirkus Review

The land of Aedyn is a paradise beyond all imagining. But when this paradise falls, strangers from another world must be called to fight for the truth.

Peter and Julia never suspected that a trip to their grandparents’ home in Oxford would contain anything out of the ordinary ... That was before Julia stumbled upon a mysterious garden that shone on moonless nights. It was no accident that she fell into the pool, pulling her brother along with her, but now they’re lost in a strange new world and they don’t know whom they can trust. Should they believe the mysterious, hooded lords? The ancient monk who appears only when least expected? Or the silent slaves who have a dark secret of their own?

In a world inhabited by strange beasts and peculiar whisperings, two children called from another world will have to discover who they truly are, fighting desperate battles within themselves before they can lead the great revolution.

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Editorial Reviews

'Period black and white illustrations add a dramatic touch to the story.' -- Booklist
Kirkus Reviews
A slight but engaging fantasy wilts under the burden of religious allegory. Julia and Peter, two teenage siblings in an oddly atemporal Oxford, are whisked into the alternate land of Aedyn and tasked with freeing those enslaved by a brutal trio of sorcerors. While the prose is competent and some of the imagery lovely, the narrative relies on an uninspired retread of generic fantasy tropes. Characterization rarely rises above gender essentialism and heavy-handed symbolism: Peter, representing "Science," is clever and well-meaning but also smug, untrustworthy and led astray by blind naturalism; Julia, as "Faith," in contrast, is compassionate, imaginative and open-minded, if prone to leaping to conclusions. The villains are bullies and buffoons, with no function beyond being Evil. Between overtly telegraphing Good Guys and Bad Guys and dropping in wildly convenient magical powers and overheard bits of exposition, the plot carefully defuses any hint of suspense. By the point the rebels stage a blatant appropriation of Passover, all pretense at subtlety is discarded. Pleasing, perhaps, for its target audience, but they deserve better; Narnia this ain't. (Fantasy. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310721925
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 1/27/2011
  • Series: Aedyn Chronicles, The Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 971,745
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Alister E. McGrath is a historian, biochemist, and Christian theologian born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. McGrath, a longtime professor at Oxford University, now holds the Chair in theology, ministry, and education at the University of London. He is the author of several books on theology and history, including Christianity’s Dangerous Idea; In the Beginning, and The Twilight of Atheism. He lives in Oxford, England and lectures regularly in the United States.

Voytek Nowakowski was born in the small city of Leczyca, Poland, an area that had a large impact on his life and work. He used old-world techniques to create enchanting places and an atmosphere of mystery. Nowakowski lived in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Read an Excerpt

Chosen Ones

By Alister E. McGrath


Copyright © 2010 Alister E. McGrath
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-71812-3

Chapter One

Once upon a time an old house stood in the English town of Oxford. It was built close by the ancient city walls, ivy growing over its stonework and mullioned windows, and was the sort of place with lots of dark corners and hidden stairways. And in this house lived a professor, his wife, and an old tabby cat.

The professor's special interest was reading about ancient battles, both at land and at sea. His ramshackle study was filled with paintings of famous naval engagements. The professor had never actually been to sea but rather liked the idea of it, and no one was prouder when his son became a captain in the Royal British Navy. His wife was the cozy, grandmotherly sort of person who specializes in scrumptious teas and biscuits. She had jolly round cheeks and an enormous lap for children to fall into.

On one particular day, not all that long ago, the house was all in a flurry of preparation for the arrival of two special visitors: their grandchildren. Their mother had died not quite a year ago, and with their father off at sea they needed a place to spend the school holidays. The professor's wife had spent the morning in preparation, airing out sheets and blankets, sweeping floors, and dusting cabinets. The professor had spent the morning choosing interesting books to leave in the spare bedrooms. For Peter, aged fourteen, he had selected a history of Admiral Nelson's tactics at the Battle of Trafalgar. It had been a bit more difficult for him to find a suitable book for Julia, aged thirteen, but finally he chose a fine book on ancient Greek politics and left it on her bedside table. His wife saw it as she placed a vase of freshly cut flowers from the garden by Julia's bed and hastily replaced it with a copy of Alice in Wonderland.

The children arrived that evening with all the ordinary bustle that completes a long journey. They were both hugged and kissed nearly to death, relieved of their bags, offered a vast assortment of sweet things, and shown to their rooms. Peter collapsed at once on top of his bed, not even bothering to undress, but Julia wasn't tired. She washed, changed into a long nightgown and sat on the edge of the bed, brushing her long hair absentmindedly and looking out through her window at a walled garden beneath her. She sighed deeply.

Normally, it had been agreed, she and Peter would be allowed to stay with friends during school breaks when their father was away. But this time their father had shore leave and was coming home to see them. There was something he had to tell them, he'd said in his message. So Julia and Peter had been told to go straight from their boarding schools to the old house in Oxford. Their father would join them there as soon as his ship docked in Plymouth.

Julia would have so much preferred to go to Lucy Honeybourne's home in Kent. They could have gone swimming together, and maybe even gone shopping in London for a day. She did love her grandparents, but they were so ... well, so old-fashioned. Thank goodness they had finally left her alone for the night. She laid down the brush and leaned back on the pillow, riffling idly through the pages of Alice in Wonderland and listening to her brother's snores through the wall.

Julia did not really like Peter very much. He was interested in things that bored her, like machines and gadgets and sport, and since they had both been sent off to school they hardly ever saw each other. But, she admitted to herself, even Peter would be better company than her grandparents.

The thought froze in her head as her eyes and ears fixed themselves on the old ornate door. It was opening, slowly, creaking as a beam of light marched across the floor. But a moment later she relaxed. The old tabby cat had entered her room and leapt onto the bed beside her.

"Why, hello Scamp!"

She lifted him up and tickled him under his chin. Scamp purred appreciatively. Both were glad to have some company. Julia walked to the window, scratching the tabby behind his ears as she went, and looked through the glass at the walled garden below, its fountain burbling gently.

"Look at that garden!" Scamp pressed a paw up against the cold pane and purred again. "Wouldn't you like to explore it! But you can't, because you're an inside cat. Aren't you?"

Scamp was not allowed outside the house in case he returned with fleas or freshly-killed birds or mice. Julia's grandmother was horrified at the thought of any of these creatures, living or dead, getting inside her nice clean house. She also did not want Scamp mixing with any of the rough, common cats that lived outside. He might learn some bad habits.

Julia gave a wry smile. Poor Scamp, always trapped inside! Suddenly, something moved in the garden below. Some birds were fluttering around the fountain. Scamp instantly became alert, his muscles tensed, staring down into the garden at the birds. Julia noticed his interest in what lay below. "You'd like to get out there and have an adventure, wouldn't you? Well, I'm sorry, but you aren't allowed out. You'll just have to stay here."

Julia dumped the old cat on her bed and watched him curl up into a ball and fall asleep. Making sure that Scamp did not follow her, she slid her feet into her blue slippers and descended the wooden staircase leading into the paneled hall. She wasn't tired-she was going to explore.

The house was still and quiet, apart from the slow ticking of an old grandfather clock. It was the first time that Julia had ever been alone in the old house. She began to investigate, peeping into rooms that she was sure she was not meant to enter. She peeked into her grandfather's study. What a mess! Papers were lying all over the floor and books were stacked high on his desk. There seemed to be a model of a sailing ship on every shelf in the room. She shut the door quietly behind her and moved on to the drawing room. After half an hour she had explored every room in the house. What now? Still wide awake, she loathed the idea of returning to the stuffy spare room.

She was back in the hall. She ran her fingers along its ancient wooden panels. To her left was the front door leading towards the college. She had come through that door earlier when she had arrived. But there was another door to her right, half-hidden by a heavy green curtain. She walked towards it and pushed the curtain aside. Did it lead down to a cellar? Or out onto the street? Making sure that Scamp was nowhere close, Julia slowly unlocked the door and began to open it. The heavy oak door creaked and groaned with the complaints of long disuse, and Julia froze. What if someone heard and came to investigate? Julia held her breath for a long moment, but there was only silence.

Taking a deep breath, she opened the door completely to reveal a walled garden. It must be the same garden that she could see from her bedroom. Julia hesitated. Should she go in? She looked around quickly. Nobody was there! She entered the garden, closing the door as softly as she could behind her.

It was a glorious evening in the month of May. Silver light flashed off the streams of water from the fountain in its center. The soft burbling of the fountain echoed off the walls, enfolding the garden in its gentle music. At the side of the fountain was a small pond fed by its own stream of water. The walls were covered by trees and climbing plants. Apple trees, wisteria, and magnolia were all in bloom, the night air heavy with their fragrance. It was the most beautiful garden Julia had ever seen.

And then she heard a voice whisper her name, softly and slowly. A shiver shot down Julia's spine as she whipped around, looking for the source of the voice, but there was no one there. "Stop being stupid," she told herself, and gave a determined shake of her head before hurrying back inside the house. It must have been the wind, or birds, or someone talking in the street beyond the garden walls.

Julia closed the door softly behind her and returned to her room upstairs. Scamp was still curled up on the bed, and he stretched and flexed his claws as she turned back the covers and climbed in. It was an odd garden, she thought. Something wasn't right there. And yet it looked so beautiful outside her window now, glowing softly. Silvery trees, silvery paths, silvery water. The fountain and pool were shimmering in an eerie yet beautiful light. There was something odd about it, she thought to herself. But she couldn't quite work out what it was.

Julia snuggled down beneath the covers, resolving to visit the garden again the next day. It was just as she finally fell asleep that she realized what was so strange about the garden. There had not been any moon that night.

* * *

She woke the next morning to a pressure on her shoulder and opened her eyes to see Scamp kneading his paws against her. Julia grinned sleepily and tickled his ears. The tabby leapt off the bed and meowed at the door.

"Ready for breakfast?" Julia asked her insistent companion. "I wouldn't mind a bit myself."

Her grandmother was already at the table downstairs, sipping a cup of tea as she perused the morning mail. She smiled as Julia appeared and gestured at the seat next to her. "Good morning, my dear," she murmured. "And where is that rascal brother of yours this morning?"

Her question was answered by a grunt. Peter loped into the room, still in yesterday's clothes, and plunked himself into a seat. It was, Julia decided, going to be a very long holiday.

Breakfast was a tense affair. The children's grandmother tried to get Peter and Julia to talk about their schools and their hobbies but, exhausting her arsenal of questions, she left the table and retreated into her quiet world of books and crochet. Peter asked permission to leave the house and explore Oxford, and Julia, delighted to be left in peace, took a book out to the garden that she had already begun to consider hers.

Chapter Two

The days fell into an easy routine. Peter would wake late in the mornings and head out to town in time for lunch with the professor. They spent their afternoons discussing Nelson's naval tactics and the development of gunpowder - "Boys' talk," according to Julia. She spent her time in the garden, reading or drawing or lying on her back doing absolutely nothing at all.

It was in such a mood one evening that she saw the glowing begin. She had, truth be told, almost entirely forgotten the silvery light that first evening in the garden, but now, watching the sun set over the garden walls, the strangeness of it could not be missed. There was a shimmer in the breeze and a sound like bells, but perhaps it was only in her mind. Julia sat up and looked around and gasped.


Excerpted from Chosen Ones by Alister E. McGrath Copyright © 2010 by Alister E. McGrath. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 30 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 21, 2012

    Peter and Julia are spending their vacation at their grandpa

    Peter and Julia are spending their vacation at their grandparents' house, waiting for their father to come home from sea. When Julia sees a hidden garden from her window she becomes drawn to it, and she and her brother soon find themselves in another land, drawn into a battle for freedom.

    Book one of "The Aedyn Chronicles," this is a good start. It is written for children, and there are illustrations throughout the book. I found that the writing tends to focus a lot more on getting into the action than character development. For me, this was a bit disappointing, but I would imagine this is a very good approach to writing for children... to keep them engaged. Overall, the story was good, and I would recommend this to anyone with kids who enjoy reading.

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  • Posted April 17, 2011

    amazing potential

    this was a great book, my only problem with it though was that it wasted too much potential! the book was only 100-150 pages, when it could've added more to what it barely glanced over, making it well over 300 pages. the author had a great way of writing, but s\he shortened too many things.

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  • Posted January 23, 2011

    Good read

    Good book

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  • Posted August 1, 2010

    Captivating from the very beginning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This book captured my attention from page one. . .and held it throughout!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very well written, the characters are very well developed. The lessons in faith clear. This author's writing style is very reminiscent of C.S. Lewis, which (for me anyway) is a HUGE plus! I highly recommend this for anyone, young or old, and can not wait for book two to come out!

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  • Posted May 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Enter a fantasy land deep within a fountain

    Julia and her brother Peter are drawn into the fountain in their grandparent's yard on a silvery night, drawn into another world where they meet an 500 year old monk who knows the legend of 2 children who will come to rescue his people from their oppressors. The story is appropriate for children and early teens, it does not have an overabundance of description or character depth but enough to understand what the land is like and what the people are like which is appropriate for that age. Similar to the Narnia chronicles but perhaps simpler. It moves quickly and has several lessons which are slipped in without preaching or disrupting the narrative. It could be read by a child or read to younger children by an adult. There is some violence involved in the fighting around the castle so perhaps not appropriate for very young children. It is a good delightful story for 9 year olds.

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