The Tenth City - 2007

It’s not quite as big as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but for kids who love reading fantasy, it’s close.”I handed her the bag, and she grabbed it and shouted, ‘It’s the book, it’s the book!’ ” said Traci Blank of her daughter Hannah’s reaction to the final installment of the Land of Elyon trilogy, The Tenth City, by Patrick Carman. Hannah had been asking about the third book since December, when she finished the second book, Beyond the Valley of Thorns. Booksellers put The Tenth City on the shelves this week. It’s just in time for the author’s visit to the Tri-Cities on Thursday. He’ll speak at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, at 10 a.m. at Marcus Whitman Elementary in Richland, and at 1:30 p.m. at Maya Angelou Elementary in Pasco. “Seeing an author really makes an impression on (children) for the rest of their lives,” said Kim Guyette, librarian at Marcus Whitman. Hannah, a third-grade student at Bethlehem Lutheran School in Kennewick, and other Mid-Columbia students aren’t the only kids in America hungry for more Elyon stories. The series began with The Dark Hills Divide, which ended up on the New York Times bestsellers list in 2005. “Kids get attached to certain characters and places,” Carman said during a telephone interview from his home in Walla Walla. “I’ve gotten so much mail in the last month from kids thinking the series is over and being distraught.” The Tenth City begins just hours after Beyond the Valley of Thorns ended. Carman said Alexa, the main character, is “in a lot of peril; it’s almost constant.” The book finally reveals where and what the tenth city is, Carman said. There are more secrets and surprises, too. “Everything good vs. evil comes to a head,” he added. Carman has a five-week book tour planned in the Northwest and in Tennessee and Kentucky. Another surprise Carman fans might not be aware of is that even though the trilogy is ending, the characters will live on in a prequel to the trilogy, Into the Mist, which already is written and will be published in the fall of 2007. The prequel is the story of Thomas Warvold, the architect who built the walls in the trilogy. It was for his two daughters that Carman invented Alexa, the 12-year-old heroine of his trilogy, and the world of walled cities, talking animals and unexpected adventures that fill the trilogy that started off as a self-published work before Scholastic offered him a publishing deal. Next for Carman is another series called Atherton, which will be printed by Little, Brown. The first book will be published in a year, and it’s for a slightly older crowd (think middle school, Carman said). “It’s every bit as much fun (as the Elyon books),” he said. The story focuses on a mad scientist who creates a whole new world where people live. “It explores the idea of playing God and what that means for the character who builds a new world,” he added.* Reporter Stacey Palevsky can be reached at 582-1512 or via e-mail at spalevsky@tricity

Patrick Carman