Flash of Inspiration on Safari Sparks New Twist on Children's Action-Adventure Books
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Aug 17, 2021, 08:44 ET
Ghosts of the Hindu Kush, book 5 in the Red Hand Adventures, will publishing on October 12th, 2021, and be available in bookstores nationwide.
HOOD RIVER, Ore., Aug. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- With Ghosts of the Hindu Kush (9780991448425, $9.95), the fifth book in the award-winning Red Hand Adventures series for young readers, author Joe O'Neill continues his tale of vintage action-adventure for modern readers. But when books hit shelves in October, no one may be more surprised than the author himself. The spirited tale of scrappy young adventurers from humble beginnings covering the globe in the early twentieth century to unlock ancient mysteries has won numerous awards and high praise from the likes of Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus Reviews (who called O'Neill the "Ian Fleming of the middle-reader set"), and the prestigious Battle of the Books competitions. But in a publishing segment awash with fantasy and sci-fi, O'Neill's take on the classic adventure middle-grade novel stands alone. "I just wanted to write the kind of book I loved when I was twelve … unlikely young heroes trekking across distant lands, relying on their instincts and each other for survival, and ultimately winning the day," says O'Neill.
When O'Neill became a father, he was disheartened to find that the classic adventure novel was still stuck in the past. He had a creative writing background but hadn't considered he was the right person to give it a refresh. All of this changed on a trip to Sri Lanka. "I've been fortunate to travel the world and experience many different cultures," says O'Neill. "I was on safari with my wife. Under a full moon, I watched elephants cast shadows on a jungle wall, and I had this flash inspiration. This story about a young orphan in Morocco came to me almost fully formed." That first book, Rebels of the Kasbah, was published by Black Ship Publishing and sold well, and the legend of the Red Hand continues to unfold. With each book, the pace quickens, the cast of colorful characters matures, and the plot grows richer and more complex. In Ghosts, the determined young heroes must navigate treacherous terrain as they evade deadly warlords, the powerful black magic of a Russian mystic, merciless mountain tribes, and already-weary soldiers dealing first-hand with a world on the brink of war.
While O'Neill wanted to modernize the classic adventure tale, he didn't set out to be political or create a lesson plan. "I just wanted to share the story I envisioned. I'm humbled by praise for my inclusion of many cultures and strong female characters, but that wasn't necessarily intentional. That was just my life growing up." O'Neill continues, "I was raised by a single mom and surrounded by willful, independent, resourceful women with a strong sense of humanity. There are good messages I did intend—the importance of hope, bravery, and loyalty and the need for family, including the ones you create yourself."
Readers can find out for themselves when Ghosts of the Hindu Kush is released October 12th, 2021. Adventure awaits at www.redhandadventures.com.
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