Elyon is a land of dark hills, enchanted forests, and great walls that connect and encircle the cities of Lathbury, Turlock, Lunenburg, and Bridewell like spokes in a wagon wheel. On her annual summer trips to Bridewell with her father, the mayor of Lathbury, Alexa Daley spends much of her time dreaming of escape. Having lived within the walls all of her 12 years, she wants nothing more than to explore the uncharted wilderness beyond. But, the walls are heavily guarded, and frightening legends suggest that forests and hills are no place for a child--especially a young girl. When a mysterious conversation and an unfortunate accident put Alexa within reach of a way outside the wall, she must decide--heed the warnings of her elders, or satisfy her curiosity and unravel the mysteries of Elyon.
Told from the perspective of its smart, brave, and adventurous heroine, The Dark Hills Divide invites readers on a spectacular and mysterious quest that will appeal to boys, girls, and fans of both fiction and fantasy. Patrick Carman is a natural storyteller, and his delightful debut is full of mysterious plots, hidden passageways, and all manner of dastardly, hilarious, and noble characters. Perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, and Cornelia Funke, The Dark Hills Divide is so compulsively readable that kids (and their parents) will be clamoring for the second book in the proposed trilogy, Beyond the Valley of Thorns, due in 2005. --Daphne Durham
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