Derek J. Canyon graduated from the University of Washington in 1990. He's been working as a professional technical writer in the software industry since 1997, and released his first fiction ebook in September of 2010. Derek and his wonderful wife live near Seattle with their long-haired Chihuahua.
The Elemental Odyssey (Tales of Zura Book #1)by Derek J. Canyon
While vacationing in the Black Hills, twelve-year-old Kyle Morgan and his new friends, Jürgen Schmidt, Susie Five Eagles,
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There are all sorts of fun and exciting things to do in South Dakota: hike the mountains, see the monuments, explore the caves, watch the wildlife. But what’s not on the travel brochures is getting abducted by magical aliens!
While vacationing in the Black Hills, twelve-year-old Kyle Morgan and his new friends, Jürgen Schmidt, Susie Five Eagles, and Veeksha Das, are hauled on board a strange alien ship and forced to help the animal-like Zurans!
Whisked around the world on a perilous quest, the children solve riddles to find mystical elements for their fierce captors. Scheming against the aliens, military, powerful elementals, and even each other, the kids must escape before the Zurans can complete their mysterious mission.
Kyle Morgan: An X-Box and baseball fan from Seattle, Kyle is meeting his international gaming buddy, Jürgen Schmidt, for the first time. They were planning on playing Halo, sightseeing, hiking, and caving, but that’s all out the window when they get abducted by aliens!
Jürgen Schmidt: Visiting the United States with his dad on a paleontological job, pudgy Jürgen is looking forward to experiencing all the great stuff to do in South Dakota with Kyle. But instead, to his everlasting delight, he is abducted by awesome animal-like aliens who use magic!
Susie Five Eagles: Susie is an energetic and curious girl of the Lakota Sioux tribe. She’s at Mt. Rushmore to meet her brother and go for a hike, but instead she overhears an intriguing riddle that Kyle and Jürgen are trying to figure out. She’s mighty pleased to know the answer, but a bit surprised when it results in her abduction!
Veeksha Das: On vacation from India, enjoying the landmarks and monuments of the American heartland, Veeksha is a smart and reasonable girl who is kidnapped right in front of her parents’ eyes! Fortunately, she is really good at riddles, and is able to prove her worth to the invading aliens.
From the moment Bozabrozy melted their bedroom window, Jürgen and Kyle realized he wasn’t your average space alien. Nope. Zurans use magic, not technology, to travel between worlds and each one looks like an bipedal humanoid animal.
Rascan: One raccoon-like rascan is on the alien ship, a sneak-thief named Bozabrozy. He’s dashing and heroic, but oddly not all that courageous. He is the first to contact the children, seeking their help in finding the magical substance that is the goal of the Zuran quest.
Urgra: These enormous bear-men are powerful and furious, able to inflict terrible damage with their claws, fangs, and giant axes.
Canar: Obedient and loyal, these dog-men make up the majority of the soldiers on the alien ship. There are many breeds, from German shepherd to Labrador to Doberman.
Grunk: A grunk is a pig-like alien, fat and lazy, more at home with baking and cooking than invading Earth. Luckily, the grunk that rules the alien ship’s kitchen is an excellent chef who prepares exotic Zuran foods.
Rasha: Not as large as an urgra, the tiger-like rasha Captain Machadaro is still ferocious and lethal. Renowned as the greatest sky pirate of Zura, Machadaro plays a dangerous game battling and avoiding the US military.
Mumba: Nimble and quick, the crew of the alien vessel is made up of these cat-men. They don’t get along too well with the canars, but they mostly stick to their job and obey the captain.
Uburu: Savakala is the vulture-like ambassador of the Zuran emperor, sent to Earth to make sure that Machadaro and his crew find the magical substance that is so valuable to the aliens. Frequently at odds with the captain, she is a powerful sorceress, wielding a staff of thunder and lightning.
Be sure to read the second book in the Tales of Zura series, Where Magic Reigns! It starts up right where this one ends.
Cover art by Igor Kieryluk.
About 96,000 words or 390 pages.
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Very well-written and entertaining book.