The Order of Time Series
By Scott. P. Southall
GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy (Mythology/Ancient History)
About the Series
Picture two twelve-year-old fraternal twins who are like night and day. She is a smart and highly organised MMA fighter. He’s not a fighter, he’s a lover of history, art and Star Wars. Despite their differences they are one formidable team. Together Anastasia and Edward Upston travel through time and navigate ancient civilisations, angry gods and mythical monsters in their quest to protect the integrity of human history.
About The Order of Time
Anastasia and Edward Upston are eleven year old twins who are different in almost every way. Despite this they are inseparable and he best of friends. They tackle the highs and lows of sixth grade together whether they are fending off bullies at the elite Blake Academy or examining rare antiquities at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Then: life gets complicated.
They discover that their friend and mentor, Dr. Gregorian, is part of a secret society called the Order of Time. It turns out that time is not fixed, it’s a fluid continuum where changes to the past can create ripples all the way through to the present. It unwittingly falls to the twins to travel back through time to ancient Egypt where they must overcome deadly assassins, evil high priests and vengeful gods in order to prevent disaster. Together Anastasia and Edward must navigate all obstacles to preserve the past and find their way back home.
About The Order of Time and Odin’s Door The orange light bathed the snow-covered fields as the fiery globe began to dip below the horizon. It was strange that something so beautiful could signal the arrival of something so evil. One thing twelve-year-old twins Anastasia and Edward Upston knew for sure was that when mortals were caught between two bickering gods nothing good would come of it. Surviving the Viking Age may be the hardest thing they ever do, if they can…
Excerpt From The Order Of Time
He was changing his clothes in the school locker room for gym class when he was snapped out of his happy thoughts by the innate feeling that something was wrong. The locker room had suddenly gone quiet. The natural sounds of sixth-grade banter about sports, drones, homework, and girls had stopped. The same thing happened in nature when a tiger prowled through the forest. Birds stopped singing and monkeys stopped chattering until the danger passed.
This was definitely bad.
Edward finished pulling his T-shirt over his head and grabbed his shoes, ready to head for the exits when Brodie came stalking around the corner flanked by his two large, dim-witted cronies, Taylor and Wilson. Edward looked for escape routes, but they had him cornered in the dead-end bank of lockers. Brodie sneered while chuckling softly and cracking his knuckles.
Edward gulped but found that all the moisture had disappeared from his mouth. Brodie was the biggest and baddest bully in sixth grade. He picked on everyone but had a special place in his heart reserved for Edward. Unfortunately, Brodie’s heart was rotten as far as Edward could tell. They had unfinished business. The last time Brodie and his cronies had used him as a punching bag, Anastasia had shown up and rescued him. She had gone all ninja on Brodie’s butt. His current predicament wasn’t helped by the fact that Brodie was enormous for a thirteen-year-old. As far as Edward was concerned, no one should be six feet tall with muscles and facial hair in sixth grade.
Excerpt From Order of Time and Odin’s Door
“Um, Anastasia, can I talk to you for a minute? Alone?” Edward asked as he grabbed his formerly sane sister by the elbow and led her away from Erik. “What in the heck are you thinking? Help them kill the dragon?”
“I said we’d help Erik try to convince Soren to leave first. We’ll only help them kill the dragon if Soren won’t listen,” his twin explained, as if it should all make sense now.
“Have you lost your mind?” Edward snapped.
“It’s a really simple plan. Don’t overthink it,” Anastasia said, looking at him like he was the one who was crazy.
“Ahem,” they heard Erik interrupt from behind them.
“I’m sorry, but we’re a little busy here at the moment,” Edward called over his shoulder at the red-haired Viking with the big sword.
“While you’re talking to the slow one, I am going to find the Jarl. He’s also fixated on getting killed by Nidhogg. Perhaps you’ll have better luck talking some sense into her,” Erik said, shaking his head dismissively.
Edward watched the big Viking follow Soren’s footprints until he disappeared into the underbrush before turning back to Anastasia. “We’re supposed to be in Strasbourg earning our entrance into the academy. We don’t even know why we’re here and you’re talking about killing dragons,” Edward whispered harshly just in case Erik was still in earshot.
“I know we’re not supposed to be here but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help someone who needs our help,” his twin whispered back, her posture stiffening.
“You know we can’t risk changing what happens here. How many times has Dr. G told us that the ripples from any change in the past can completely change the future? That red-haired dude is Erik the Red, the man who colonizes Greenland. His son Leif Erikson was the first European to sight North America: five hundred years before Christopher Columbus. Assuming we could help kill this dragon, just imagine what changing the past related to that guy might do. Dollar bills could say In Odin we trust and we might not even exist!” Edward was no longer whispering as he threw his hands in the air in exasperation.
Inspiration for The Order of Time and Odin’s Door
One of my wife’s best friends lives in Denmark so I have been fortunate enough to spend a bit of time there. During one of our trips I came across a World Tree pendant in one of the shops in Copenhagen. I’veread enough about Norse mythology to know thatthe World Treeis an enormous ash tree that sits at the center of the cosmos and connects the nine realms of Norse mythology.These nine realms are called Niflheim, Muspelheim, Asgard, Midgard, Jotunheim, Vanaheim, Alfheim, Svartalfheim, Helheim.Each realm is inhabited by different beings. Asgard, as many know from the Thor movies, is the realm of the Aesir or the gods. Jotunheim is home to the giants. Midgard is the home to humans.
When I dove deeper I also learned that the World Tree was called Yggdrasil and that there were a number of beings that lived within it. Three of the most interesting were Nidhogg the dragon, Ratatoskr the squirrel, and an unnamed eagle. Niddhogg is a particularly nasty dragon that lives in a well at the base of the World Tree and gnaws on the roots in an effort to destroy the tree and send the world into chaos. The Eagle lives high within the branches of Yggdrasil. Nidhogg and the Eagle hate each other but can’t actually reach each other. As a result,Ratatoskr the giant squirrel ferries their insults back and forth. I think many people will be able to identify with a friend like Ratatoskr who is alwaysstirring the pot and causing trouble.
Needless to say, the more I learned the more I became intrigued by these less well known characters of Norse mythology. I knew I wanted to use both Denmark and Norse mythology in a sequel to The Order of Time. While gods like Odin and Loki play a role in the story I wanted to do it in a way where the mythology was a little different than what we typically see from Anthony Hopkins and Tom Hiddleston. I wanted it to feel authentic but accessible. The result was The Order of Time and Odin’s Door.
Top 5 Pros and Cons of Writing Middle Grade Books
The middle grade genre is typically identified as books targeting readers between 8-12 years of age. It has produced amazing books and series like Harry Potter, the Chronicles of Narnia andPercy Jackson. My writing, The Order of Time Series,also targets middle grade readers. Here is my top 5 list of pros and cons of writing middle grade books.
- Being silly is completely acceptableand actually preferred as a middle grade writer
- You get to blow kids minds by introducing them to ancient civilizations and their mythologies
- Your son and daughterget to telltheir friends that their dad’s books are in the school library
- You get to read other middle grade books under the guise of market research
- You have the chance to inspire kids to become avid readers
- People assume that you are an expert inchild development
- Once yourkids have read a poo joke you made within a book it can be very hard to put that djinn back in the bottle
- It’s a small market. Only 6% of the population is between 8-12 years old in Australia where I live
- Middle grade writers aren’t always considered “serious writers” by other writers
- There aren’t’ that may cons. Being a middle grade author is awesome!
Fascinating Facts About the Viking Age
For many people what they know about the Viking Age and Norse mythology is what they have seen in Marvel’sThor movies.While the images of Chris Hemsworth and Asgard are captivating, they don’t provide an authentic view into Viking civilization.
The Viking Age was a period in the middle ages between 793 and 1066 ADwhen the people living in modern Scandinavia, known as Vikings, were actively raiding, colonizingand trading across Europe. The start of the Viking Age was marked by the Viking raid of the Lindisfarne Abbey in North Umbria England. The monks of the abbey were killed, thrown into the sea, or carried away as slaves along with the church’s treasure. The Vikings were soon raiding across the modern day United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal among other locations. The French region of Normandy is actually named after the Viking invaders–“Norrmani” or men of the north.
Viking raids and exploration were enabled by the design of the longships which were the most feared naval vessels at the time. The ships could be sailed or rowed as required and could reach speeds of up to 17 knots. The shallow hulls also enabled the ships to make shallow beach landings and sail up rivers.The longships were often made even more fearsome through the addition of decorative head pieces, often in the shape of dragons or serpents, on the front of the ships.
The Viking’s longships were also capable of navigation of the open sea which led to their discovery and settlement of Iceland around 830 AD. Erik the Red, who is a central character in The Order of Time and Odin’s Door, settled in Iceland after his family were exiled from modern day Norway. Erik was famous for colonizing the inappropriately named Greenland. His son, Leif Erikson, was the first European to sight North America. Almost 500 years before Christopher Columbus.
Although the Viking Age ended almost a millennium ago, the characters of Norse mythologystill intrigues inhabitants of the twenty first century. Symbols of the giant ash tree Yggdrasil, which sat at the center of the Norse cosmos and its nine realms, can still be found in jewellery and online. Gods like Odin, Thor, Loki and Hel all feature heavily in the movie theaters and on Netflix. Norse mythology was also full of amazing beings and monsters like elves, dwarves, giants, draugar, krakens, and dragons. I can also attest that they make great fodder for middle grade books.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Scott is an American author and banking executive who lives in Sydney, Australia. He grew up in the suburbs of Washington D.C. and attended Georgetown University. While he loves his job as a global banker, his true passion is making up stories with his children. His debut novel, The Order of Time, reached #1 in its category on Amazon and was the 2021 Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal Winner in the Children’s – Mythology/Fairy Tale genre.
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