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The Longquist Adventures

by Frank Holes Jr.

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With an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a master’s in educational leadership from Central Michigan University, and an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Michigan State University, Frank Holes, Jr. teaches literature, writing, and mythology at the middle school level and was recently named a regional Teacher of the Year. He lives in Northern Michigan with his wife Michele, son James, and daughter Sarah.  

 

The Laptop...

There was a long, thin slit on the front of the computer, but it didn’t appear to be anything a CD would fit into.  The boy looked doggedly in the upper shelves and drawers of the roll-top desk, and after finding nothing, pulled out the file drawers below.  Sweet!  He pulled out a white cardboard box with dozens of large black floppy disks.  Just like the laptop, these were the ancient predecessors of modern technology.  Each sleek disk had a sticker label at its top in which its contents were hand-written with a red felt-tipped pen.  Thumbing through the stack, James pulled out the one that looked the most interesting.  It was labeled with three distinct titles, one above another: “Civil War…The Odyssey… Cretaceous Period.”

James had inherited much of his grandfather’s love of history without knowing it, even though they had never spoken until this summer.  The three titles on the disk were not totally unfamiliar to him, though he was nowhere near an expert like his grandfather surely was.  What the three titles had in common, however, was lost on the boy.  He couldn’t think of any connections between them, and so he assumed they must be separate programs he could explore individually on the computer.  

The Longquist Adventures

a new novel by
Frank Holes Jr.

 

A New World Of Adventures!

 

In a great blending of fantasy, adventure, and mythology, The Longquist Adventures sets the stage for a new young hero in modern literature.  Written for elementary students as young as third grade, these novels will be loved by those at the middle school and high school level, as well as anyone familiar with mythology and classic literary tales.   

Latest News: 
April 18, 2011

Be on the lookout for a new novel by Frank Holes Jr., coming this summer.  The long-awaited connection between the Longquist novels and the Dogman series is here!  The new novel, part science-fiction and part fantasy, links Frank's two series in a deep, dark mystery that threatens the fate of the world!  Look for it July 4!

 

 

The first advanced copy of the new Longquist Adventures is now available on our website.  
Click here for more info!

More snippets of Viking Treasure, the second book in the series, will continue to appear over the next few months until the book's release, tentatively on February 1, 2010.

 

 

Order Your Copy of 
The Longquist Adventures: 
Western Odyssey
by clicking the link below:

 

November 1, 2009 

Craig Tollenaar, our extraordinary artist from Year of the Dogman and the first Longquist Adventures novel, has signed on for the artwork for this second novel.  Be sure to check out our website often for updates and some preliminary drawings!

 

November 17, 2009

Teachers:  Click here for Educator's Specials on Classroom Sets of our Novel.  Great Prices and Discounts!

 

Contact the author at:
author@griswoldmountain.com

 

 

Locations around Michigan where you can purchase your own copy:

 

horizons bookstores: petoskey, traverse city, cadillac

Lelanau Books: Leland

Charlie's Country Corner: Grayling

 

bookworld bookstores: 
Iron Mountain, Escanaba, Marquette

book shoppe: alma

great lakes books:  big rapids

 

bookmark bookstores: Manistee & ludington

gibsons bookstore: east Lansing

schulers books: Lansing & Okemos

 

logmark bookstore: cheboygan

goldenrod gifts: indian river

kens village market: indian river

 

Email us at author@griswoldmountain.com

 

The Longquist Adventures:

Viking Treasure

A New World Of Adventures!
Now Available For PREORDER!

 

From Chapter 5:

Several voices grew more intense, and after a few moments, the cabin boy’s eyes widened as he realized what they were saying. 

James listened carefully as the gruff voices in the ship’s tiny galley argued over the plans for the mutiny.  Of course, the apple barrel was far enough against the ship’s curved interior wall that he didn’t have to worry about being discovered; as long as none of these ruffians reached in for a snack, he’d be basically invisible.  And that was a good thing.

“Arrrgh, I says we take ‘em tonight,” one deep voice argued.  “Slit their throats whilst they sleep.”  There was a slicing, slurping nose, and James could picture in his mind’s eye that particular Viking mimicking the deadly blade by stretching his thumb across his throat. 

“No, now we’ve been over this a hundred times already,” a familiar voice spoke, quiet but with total control.  “We stick to the plan.  Don’t you go getting’ anxious yet.”

“Who says we gots to be takin’ orders from you, Longsword?” the first voice sneered back. 

James could hear the audible, intimidating crackling of ten rock-solid knuckles.  Longsword!  How could he?  The boy silently clenched his fists in anger.  James didn’t want to believe it, but there was no mistaking his voice, sticky-sweet and sincere to be true, but with an undertone of rigid authority. 

Crestfallen, James thought about how much he liked the old cook, how much he’d learned from him, and how he’d come to respect him.  And here he was, not only part of the mutiny but leading it!

“I says, that’s who,” Longsword answered in a sinister whisper.  “Don’t you go forgettin’ who’s in charge here.  You’ll do as I say, or I’ll be usin’ you for fish bait.”

A long pause stretched across the darkened cabin.  Then a little chuckle slipped from each of the Vikings gathered there.  Longsword continued, keeping the upper hand.  “And don’t think I wont, either, because I’ve had just about enough of this accursed fruit and cheese.  And the mead’s almost run dry.  I wan’ts some meat or fish.” 

Suddenly, the lid of James’ apple barrel lifted upward and a stream of dim light entered along with a thick, muscular and hairy arm.  The fingers, fat as sausages, groped for an apple.  Silently, James pressed his body against the oak slats to keep from being found. 

With the information he’d just heard, he was not only a threat to these Viking mutineers; he just might become fish bait himself!

 

The Longquist Adventures: Viking Treasure
Copyright 2009  Frank Holes Jr.

From Chapter 2:

There was not much room below deck, though James later on found he could walk anyplace easily, unlike the much bigger Vikings who had to constantly duck and crouch beneath the overhead beams. 

The exception below deck was the galley, the ship’s tiny kitchen, which lay at the center of the longboat just forward of the main mast.  Being at the exact middle of the ship and thus able to drop its floor right down onto the wide keel, the galley was a full two steps lower than the hold.  And it was here that the cabin boy met his new master.

James peered up through the dim light at the ship’s cook.  There was obviously no candles or oil lamps below decks, and electricity and batteries had yet to be invented in this world.  However, James found he could see pretty well from the two open hatches on either end of the galley.  And in this dim light, he met the man who would ultimately change this adventure’s course of events.  The Viking before him, for there was no mistaking the man’s huge physical stature, nearly filled the entire galley. 

The boy expected someone a little less imposing to be running the galley, since the kitchen was in such tight quarters.  But this man was by far the largest Viking on the entire ship, at least a head taller than the captain and broader around than Halvard. 

This Viking’s chest and shoulders were nearly wide enough to scrape the shelves along each wall, and his hips constantly pressed against the sea barrels that were stacked at floor level and lashed tightly together with thick rope. 

Wild tufts of the cook’s deep reddish-brown beard were tied off in little pig-tails in a number of places along the man’s monstrous, hard jaw line. 

He wore a black, fleece vest that accentuated the rippling muscles up and down his hairy arms.  His hands were the size of catcher’s mitts. 

But what was the most striking aspect of the cook’s appearance was what was missing.  As Jim’s gaze descended from the ceiling where the man’s bushy red hair easily brushed the cobwebs along the overhead beams, the boy’s eyes widened in shock. 

The cook was missing one leg! 

Well, that was a matter of opinion.  The left leg was there in all of its muscular glory, bulging beneath the cook’s dark tan woolen trousers.  That let was definitely one that belonged to a Viking.  However, down the right leg, the tightly-woven pants ended halfway between the waist and what should have been a kneecap. 

Jim’s mouth went instantly dry.  He tried to swallow, but the scraping at the back of his throat wouldn’t allow it. 

Instead of a human leg extending from the cut off pants, a dull, ivory colored, cone-shaped appendage served to keep the cook upright and moving.

James at first thought it might be a wooden limb, like those the pirates wore in the old Saturday afternoon cable-TV movies.  But as he stared closer, he realized it was not wooden.  It was made of bone! 

The peg-leg, the only name James could think of to describe it, was scarred and dented, and all along its length, tiny stained riverbeds spider-webbed their way to the floor. 

Only then did James realize he’d been staring at this powerful man for a number of seconds in what could only be a most disrespectful manner.  Quickly, he blinked and then turned his head away, trying to find a crack in the ship’s side boards that he might crawl into. 

Without blinking, the huge cook glared down at the cabin boy and then raised one side of his lips in a near sneer.  “Arrgh, lost it in the service of the king, so I did, lad.” 

James, ever the polite child, returned his eyes to meet those of his master. 

But instead of the good beating he’d expected, the sea cook let loose a hearty bellow of laughter. 

“It’s whale-bone, lad,” the cook chuckled.  “Carved it myself from the belly of a great beast we slew not even ten year ago.” 

Longsword slapped the bone leg with his meaty right paw of a hand.  “It’s been through better days, I must admit, and I can’t ever seem to get it sparkly clean, don’t ya know.” 

James’ question was out before he could stop himself.  Only immediately afterward did he wish he’d just kept quiet.  “Isn’t that a bit, you know, awkward to get around on?”

The cook paused for a moment before answering.  “The only time it slows me down is on quick sprints along rough country.  But as you can see,” Longsword spun a tight circle pivoting upon the bone’s pointed end, a move James would have thought impossible if he hadn’t actually witnessed it, “in close quarters, it suits me just fine.” 

It was obvious that the cook was just as nimble as his shipmates.  And if the artificial leg bothered him, he didn’t show it.  James also wondered how he lost the leg, but he was sensible enough not to ask. 

“And I make a fine dancin’ partner for the ladies, so I do.”  And as he raised his bushy red eyebrows up and down, he roared in laughter again, though this time James wasn’t too sure he liked the underlying tone.  It seemed to suggest something darker and more sinister beneath the man’s otherwise jovial countenance. 

“You’re a right fine salt, you are boy,” the Viking said.  “So, what do they call you, my lad?”

His voice barely a squeak, James did his best to look the big man in the eye despite his fear.  “James, sir.”

“Jamesur, huh?  What is that, Anglo-Saxon?  Norman ?  Can’t be a Britton, there’s no way you’d get yerself to Sweden .  A bit unusual a name.  ‘Course, yer a bit scrawny for a Norseman.”

“No, no, sir.  It’s just James.” 

“Oh, you were being polite.” The Viking said.  “Good lad.  Good manners isn’t practiced so much on the seas as it should be.  And no excuse for that, let me tell you.” 

James could only nod carefully.  He still wasn’t sure how to take this big cook. 

“But, forgive me,” the Viking said politely holding out his huge hand. “Manners and all.  My name’s Jon Longsword.”

Nervously, James reached his right hand forward expecting to shake hands, just as his father had taught him years ago.  He hoped his fingers wouldn’t be crushed, either accidentally or on purpose.  But the boy was completely surprised when Viking clutched his entire arm.  It was a full forearm shake!  Longsword’s fingers wrapped completely around James’s elbow.  James attempted to return the gesture, but his small fingers barely covered a quarter of the big man’s arm. 

Longsword gave the boy a gentle shake, pumping their arms up and down twice and saying, “It’s good to meet ya James.  Welcome aboard the Sonskir.”

 

From Chapter 4:

Old Torgeir stared out to the rough seas with his one good eye.  Even with only one good eye to look out of, he normally acted as the ship’s lookout, able to see much farther than his other shipmates.  He didn’t make a sound, nay did he even breathe for a long time. 

Just then, the sea around the two ships began to boil.  Huge bubbles broke their way to the surface, and sea water sprayed two dozen or more feet into the air.  Having seen film footage of Yellowstone’s Old Faithful , James’ first thought was that they’d sailed over top of a geyser.  But it was to prove much more dangerous. 

The great Viking vessel suddenly lurched hard to the right, the prow of the ship plunging nearly under the icy sea.  The crew grasped any handhold in sight and then cringed as a wall of water blasted over the deck.  The Draugr, just a dozen yards away, twisted hard to the side, and audible cracking sound emitting from its midsection. 

Luckily, James was right next to the mast.  His small right hand looped around the rope that dangled down from the beam above. 

A shout and several curses issued immediately from the galley, as many gallons of water poured down the hatchway.  Not a second or two later, Jon Longsword poked his head out of the ship’s central hold.  “What in blazes is goin on up here?” he cried angrily.  “Where’s the helmsman, steering us into such chaos?  I’ll stripe him myself for a …

But the old cook’s tirade was cut short as he glanced over toward the smaller ship.  James followed his glance and watched as the Draugr, now broken into several pieces was quickly sinking below the bubbling water.  Viking sailors were swimming madly for the Sonskir. 

“Thor’s thunder!” said Longsword, obviously in awe.  “It’s a Kraken!”

“A what?” asked James, incredulously.  But he didn’t have long to ponder. 

Suddenly Longsword hollered at the boy fiercely.  “Get down lad!”

Without thinking, James dropped to his knees.  He just barely slipped below the slimy tentacle that whipped its way across the Sonskir’s deck.  As he rolled over onto his back, James, now wide-eyed in terror, watched the tentacle wrap itself twice around the mast. 

The tentacle was a greenish-brown color on top.  The underside was a sour gray color, distinguished by rows of suckers, each the size of cereal bowls.  The jagged edge of each sucker was lined with small teeth-like protrusions.  From only a few feet below, James could hear the grinding of the serrated edges of the suckers, most now engaged in adhering the tentacle to the mast. 

By this time, the entire crew was on deck.  But a moment later, they all hit the planking as the ship lurched again, this time from the tentacle pulling upon the mast. 

Weapons appeared in the Vikings’ hands as more and more tentacles snaked their way up on deck.  The sailors swung their swords and axes, defeating the smaller tentacles and sending them back slithering to the watery depths.  But two larger tentacles were causing far more havoc. 

One large tentacle was still prying on the main mast.  With each tug, the Sonskir again lurched to the side.  The other large tentacle was knocking the Vikings off into the sea. 

 

Email us at author@griswoldmountain.com

 

From Chapter 2:

The streets emptied rapidly.  The boy was amazed how quickly folks found someplace else to be.  Doors slammed up and down the block.  Even the boy at the livery forgot his escaped chargers and pulled the wide double doors shut.  However, though all passers-by were missing from the street, James could see many of their faces peering from the dirty and dingy glass windows, both at ground level and in the stories above. 

Time seemed to have slowed to a crawl.  A light breeze swept down the main street, kicking up little spinning dirt devils.  A few fat, puffy clouds sat lazily in the blue sky. 

The outlaw shook himself, and suddenly remembering where he was, stumbled to his feet.  He looked around, seeing his six-shooter a few feet away, his Stetson upside down in the other direction, and the cash from the bank blowing around in the wind.  He paused a moment as if trying to decide which to go after first. 

Finally, after deciding he needed his weapon the most, he staggered over and picked up his gun from the dust.  His bandana was askew on his neck, and his clever disguise now utterly useless.

From Chapter 9:

A few hours after the lunch break on their fourth day across the desert, they began to see faint, dark ribbons at the western and southern edges of the horizon.  It could only mean the end of the desert and the beginning of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the edge of California .  James was quite excited; he’d always wanted to visit California , even if it was in some strange world and time.

 The attention of the entire group was soon caught by an ever-growing shape emerging from the horizon.  They all watched, entranced, as the tiny figure, so far away, emerged and took shape.  Their lead scout, who had been riding out a mile or so ahead, had come streaking back toward the group, and something was following him.  Another shape was emerging behind him.  Something big.  Something nearly as fast as he.  He continued to close the distance back to the troop.  Now the scout was clearly visible.  He was riding as if his life depended on it, and a cloud of dust billowed out from behind his horse’s hooves. 

The group slowed to a slight canter and pulled together in a naturally protective maneuver. 

Gun in hand, the outlaw now turned his attention to the bank notes, which were making their way slowly to the outskirts of town.  At that point, he noticed the boy crouching at the edge of the street.  Realization dawned on the bad man, realization that this boy was the reason for his tumble and the thwarting of his clean get-away. 
Based upon the epic Greek tale of The Odyssey, yet set in the American Wild West, The Longquist Adventures: Western Odyssey chronicles the journey of a young boy and his guide through a perilous world of dangerous encounters and fantastic creatures.  It is a world of gun fights at high noon, stampedes on the great plains, stagecoach robbery, and an ultimate showdown with a ruthless, powerful gangster aboard a turn-of-the-century paddlewheel in the San Francisco Bay.  Can the time-traveling boy and the law-abiding Marshal restore order to the chaos of the American West gone truly wild?  

That he’d return was inevitable; that he’d return in such a manner was disturbing.  However, they didn’t have to wait long for the scout.  Nor did they have to wait long to see what was behind him, what was undoubtedly chasing him back their way. 

The heat waves rising from the ground in the desert naturally form mirages.

Still stumbling a bit, the outlaw stalked toward the little boy and raised his piece.  James’ eyes opened wide in terror, and his throat went totally dry.  He was frozen for the second time in just a few minutes, but this time he was sure his luck had run out. 

“I wouldn’t do that, partner,” a calm, deep voice cut down the street from up near the saloon at the head of the block. 

The bank robber paused, forgetting the boy, and turned to the direction of the voice.  James did a little cheer in his mind; his body was too frightened to move.  A lawman had rescued him in the nick of time! 

The lawman strode calmly to the middle of the now deserted street and looked down at the outlaw.  He pushed back his long coat revealing the guns of his trade. 

The Longquist Adventures:

Western Odyssey

A New World Of Adventures!

Art by Craig Tollenaar
copyrighted

Settlers had seen them for years, believing all sorts of things were ahead of them, from lakes filled with life-saving water to angels rising toward heaven.  But even as James peaked around the Marshal’s shoulders to gaze at their returning companion, he knew it was no mirage. 

He’d seen far too many strange and unusual sights in this world, a world he now believed was created from a software program back in his grandfather’s study, back in a world he knew was safe from such monsters.  This world, though fictional and somehow generated from a mysterious laptop, was at least real enough to get him killed.  However he’d gotten here, however it had been created, however it managed to exist, this world was his now.  At this point in his journey, there would be very little in this world that would surprise him. 

Even from this distance, James could see the polished wooden handles and the blue steel that protruded from the holsters hung low on each hip.  A silver star glinted on his vest. 

The brim of the lawman’s own bleached-white Stetson hat was tilted up, revealing the tanned visage and a coal-black shooter’s eyes.  His shoulder length hair, gray intermingled with the deep black, hung straight below the rear brim.  The thick, graying handlebar moustache and goatee, immaculately trimmed and socially presentable, gave him an air of unquestioned authority.   Stoically he stood, his face never twitched or showed a hint of emotion. 

He addressed the outlaw again.  “I suggest you drop your weapon and give yourself

What he saw behind their scout was no surprise.  He blinked a few times to be sure he was indeed seeing it, but his mind told him immediately it was real.  And that realization told him two things.  One was that feeling of excitement, of exultation.  He was totally amazed to see the creature.  Never in his life had he ever thought he’d see one for real.  It brought back all of the boyhood wonder.  And the other feeling was complete and total terror, because they were facing the greatest killing machine to ever walk the earth.  Or in this case, to race along the earth. 

He wasn’t the first to see it, but he was the first to understand what it was.  “Marshal, we, um, need to get out of here.  Fast!” James managed to squeak out. 

up.”  He looked up across the sky from left to right as he raised both hands, palms up, in a gesture of benevolence.  “I’d hate to have to drop you on such a fine day as this.”

“Marshal,” the bad man croaked (he was still getting his wind back), “I’m going to mount up and leave.  You keep the money.  I’m goin free.”

The marshal held his ground, hands now taking their place a few inches above the big guns.  “I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way.  Bank robbery is a serious offense, even if you don’t get away with it.  I’ll be taking you in, one way or another.”

“Over my dead body,” the outlaw spat.

The lawman wasn’t impressed.  “If that’s how you want it, make your play.”

James held his breath.  He knew this was the immaculate moment in the shootout, that moment of silence waiting to see who would move first.  He knew that the bad guy always had to move first, either to go for his horse (which was across the street) or for his gun (on his hip).  It wasn’t much of a choice…

 

From Chapter 4:

An hour after resuming their northwestward tack, the Marshal led them up over a rise where they could see the entirety of the valley spread out below.  They hopped down from their mounts and, crouching low, James followed the Marshal to the very top of the incline.  And what a sight greeted the young boy!  The bison were everywhere, thousands of them, grazing as they meandered back and forth along the plain.  The herd covered the entire valley.  James watched them intently, their long shaggy shoulder fur rippling in the breeze.  From this distance, the buffaloes appeared like a swarm of insects, completely covering the land.

James had read in his history books about the great herds that once covered the western plains, but a few sentences in a text would never do justice to seeing such a herd in real life.  No one alive in James’ world had ever seen such a sight.  No one would ever believe him – if he ever got home, that is. 

And then his attention was caught by a small group of creatures out in the middle of the great herd.  James blinked his eyes a couple of times to make sure he wasn’t seeing things.  Then he rubbed them with the cuff of his right sleeve and shook his head.  No, they were still there.  It might have been a small group, but the creatures were anything but small.

“Marshal, um, those are, um, not buffalo down there.  Not all of them anyways.”

“Yes, James, you can see the tri-horns off in the distance,” he answered, gazing at the panoramic view.  “They’re such beautiful animals, aren’t they?”

James blinked again, to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating.  True, this entire adventure made little sense.  But this was really ridiculous. 

Just down a few hundred yards, grazing peacefully along with the bison, was a pod of triceratops! 

Each of the adults was almost twice the size of a large buffalo.  Based on a guess of the dimensions of a buffalo, James figured each dinosaur would be about eight feet tall and about fifteen feet in length.  The triceratops were huge, easily dwarfing the smaller bison who gave them a wide berth.  Though both animals shared the plain, the bison were sure to leave an empty space of grassland between themselves and their huge neighbors.

Like most boys his age, James was quite familiar with every dinosaur known to science.  He’d loved the creatures since he was very young, collecting all sorts of toys, figures, and models of dinosaurs.  He had dozens of books on dinosaurs at home and could quote the vital statistics of nearly every ancient beast on record.  The triceratops was an easy one to recognize because of its three long horns sprouting from its head.  But he couldn’t believe he was actually gazing at not only one such creature, but a whole herd of them.  He was amazed, simply amazed! 

“You call them ‘tri-horns,’ Marshal?” he managed to sputter, eyes still glued to the plain below. 

“Not a real creative name, I know, but at least it describes them well.  The plains Indians call them Yamin Ptehe Wapaha Ite, which means the ‘three horned head face.’”

James was speechless.  He never in his life ever thought he’d see something so fabulous, so incredible. 

“Have you ever seen one up close?”  James asked, full of wonder. 

“Sure, plenty,” answered the Marshal.  “If we weren’t in such a hurry, we could go down there and get a closer look.  They really are quite docile creatures, much more so than the bison.  Long as they don’t get riled up.” 

 

Only a moment later, having understood the situation himself, Odysseus responded, “I think you’re right.”  He turned and shouted, “Captain, we need cover, now!”

The soldiers abruptly tugged the reigns, turning their mounts around, and then hurried them into a sprint.  The scout, already at full speed, had nearly caught up to the pack when James turned his head around to get another look at their pursuer. 

But instead of the initial boyhood excitement he felt a few moments ago, his stomach lurched, his lips and chin pulled back in revulsion and horror, and he had to again bury his face into the Marshal’s coat.  For a second he felt dizzy, and his head and shoulders shook violently. 

The scout, only a dozen or so yards behind them, had been snatched up, right off his horse.  Even moving at full speed he’d been caught.  The horse twisted, fell, and rolled beneath the creature’s huge, clawed feet.  Blood spurted everywhere.  The monster was faster than a horse!  And it didn’t miss a beat.  It hadn’t even slowed when it caught the soldier and devoured him.

James’ thoughts returned to the Marshal’s words back at the great herd of bison and tri-horns.  It seemed so long ago, he’d almost forgotten them.  Some of the Indians’ legends tell of huge, long-toothed beasts that run on two legs and are fast enough to catch bison and elk.  I don’t know anybody who’s ever seen one first hand and lived to tell about it. 

The Marshal had never seen one, wasn’t even sure they existed other than in Indian legends.  He didn’t have the dinosaur books James had grown up with, detailing the enormous beasts that once roamed the earth.  The Marshal didn’t know what this creature was, nor what it was capable of.  James knew at least what modern science could piece together of such monsters.  He had an idea of what it was and what it could do.

Chasing them wasn’t a bear, a lion, or any other of the largest predators to hunt James’s home world.  It was much greater; it was the greatest predator to ever walk the earth…

 

Email us at author@griswoldmountain.com

 

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