J.R. Roper is the author of The Morus Chronicles, a fantasy series for middle grade readers. The first two books, The Hunter Awakens and The Spirit of Steel are now available along with a collection of short stories titled Mel & the Black Rider. Roper's work has appeared in ChildGood Magazine, Families First Monthly, and in anthologies by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing, Horrified Press, and Thirteen O'Clock Press.
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Winner Best Children's Novel 2014: Preditors & Editors Readers Poll
Literary Classics Seal of Approval: Highly recommended for home and school libraries.When thirteen-year-old Ethan Morus is forced to stay on his grandparents' old farm, he expects to find weathered barns, rusty tools, and a creaky house in need of fresh paint. What he doesn't expect is to hear a legend placing his family at the center of an ancient treasure hunt. Or find burial chambers protected by poltergeists, or a secret lair guarded by an ancient beast. And least of all, Ethan doesn't suspect that powerful sorcerers are watching his every move.
They've found Ethan and believe he is from a line of treasure hunters who possess a rare instinct to locate powerful artifacts. Whether he has the instinct or not, Ethan is faced with a choice--search the Morus property and find what they want or lose yet another family member.
At thirteen years old, Mel is too young to become a clan assassin, unless she can survive her master's death sentence. Mel was given the job of killing Ethan Morus, the treasure hunter, but she disobeyed and protected him instead. Now she's been tasked with ridding the land of the Black Rider, an ancient evil. If she falls to the demon, Ethan will stand alone against the Dark, and her master will have won. Yet she is not just any warrior and with victory, all will fear her. For she is Hellish Mel.
This collection includes Mel & the Black Rider, The Growing Darkness, Eldorian at The Council, and Nero: Before Book One. These stories provide a glimpse at what is to come in the next installment, The Hunter Falls: Book Two of The Morus Chronicles.
At the start of summer, no one, including thirteen-year-old Ethan Morus, knew that he’d been born with a treasure hunting instinct. Now that summer has ended, all groups desiring power are either seeking Ethan’s services or hoping to end his young life. Although he has pledged his allegiance to the Light, even they are leery of training him for fear the Dark may lure him to their side.
Ethan will face beasts and enchantments on this dangerous adventure, from deep below the water’s surface to high in the mountains. Yet his greatest enemies stand by his side as the line between Light and Dark blurs in the search for the Spirit of Steel.