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The Maelstrom: Book Four of The Tapestry Paperback – September 10, 2013


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Frequently Bought Together

The Maelstrom: Book Four of The Tapestry + The Fiend and the Forge: Book Three of The Tapestry + The Second Siege: Book Two of The Tapestry
Price for all three: $21.57

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 890L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Tapestry (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375871489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375871481
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2012:
"Within its fantasy world, Neff makes this book a kind of in-depth consideration of war itself. Covering espionage, disinformation, false diplomacy and even cryptography, he gives readers an education in the clandestine tools of war. Despite heavy themes, he continues to balance seriousness with a lighthearted humor that keeps the pages turning. A strong, gutsy chapter in what is already a noteworthy series."

About the Author

HENRY H. NEFF has been a successful business consultant in Chicago and a popular high school teacher in San Francisco. He now writes and draws full-time from his home in Brooklyn. The Maelstrom is his fourth book. 

More About the Author

It's hard to write about one's self without being too cute or clever by half. When in doubt, keep it simple: here are a few insights into who I am and how I work. Ultimately, it's all about the words and pictures and how they come to be.

Today, I write books in Brooklyn, but I'm a Chicago boy at heart. In the late-1970s, at the age of four, I moved to the Chicago suburbs. My formative memories are generally pretty pleasant; a mishmash of baseball, bikes, and bad haircuts while I navigated the social labyrinth of public schools. As a history teacher, I now realize that my childhood was typical of an American kid growing up in the 1980s: middle child of divorced parents, microwaving fish sticks, and watching too much television.

Thankfully, it wasn't all fish sticks and TV. There were always books and I was a big reader. My parents were art historians and there was a lot of strange stuff to spark and stoke an inquisitive mind-books on Bosch and Beowulf, surrealist paintings, visiting artists, and mounds of comic books. It was rich fodder for a young mind and while I didn't always understand what I was looking at, I knew I liked it.

I was an artist before I was a writer. We had a big drawing board at the Neff house-a battered, scribbled-over panel of wood that I would lay out on the floor. With pencil, pen, crayon, or markers, I would create whole worlds-taped together panoramas of monsters and knights and smoldering ruins. I loved monsters-from Grendel lurking outside Hrothgar's hall, to the Minotaur, to the motley host in Sendak's, Where the Wild Things Are. If it had claws and teeth and malicious intent, I wanted to draw it. Still do.

My love of words came later. I don't know exactly what triggered it, but I love the sounds, shapes, and mental snapshots that words can conjure. From the roar of creation myths to the quiet precision of a poem, there's magic in words. The written word makes me feel a fierce connection to other people-I get to experience life through the soul and vitality of another human being. Even as you read these words, a connection is forming between us. We might be separated by great gulfs of distance or time, but still the connection exists. If that's not magic, I don't know what is.

While I love words and art, I didn't make a go of them right away. As a senior at Cornell University, I planned to attend law school when I was contacted by a consulting firm and encouraged to apply for an interview. Upon further inspection, McKinsey & Company sounded like heady stuff-a chance to work with smart people while tackling big problems. I decided law school could wait.

I spent five years in the business world and it was fine, but it just wasn't me. Despite some brilliant colleagues and intriguing projects, I was plagued by the nagging suspicion that I was wasting my life. The real me wasn't all that interested in a corner office-I wanted to be back at my drawing board, creating monsters and knights and ruins. Some might call such an impulse "geeky" or "childish," but the older I get, the more I realize that we're all strange little creatures and you have to build a life around whatever strange little things make you tick. It took nearly 30 years, but I finally concluded that I am a storyteller. I quit the corporate life cold turkey and took up teaching. During my first year teaching high school, I began to write The Tapestry.

The Tapestry is a story that I would have loved as a boy. I don't know how to write for an audience other than myself and I think the story would ring false if I tried. A fair amount of personal history is interwoven into the tale and its characters. For example, vyes are the byproduct of bad dreams I had as a boy, involving tall, wolfish creatures with squinty eyes. The nightmares were recurring and I would run into my parents' room, insisting that the "vyes" were after me. Naturally, when I needed a monster for The Tapestry, I put a call into the vyes. It was the least they could do after tormenting me so.

There are other bits and pieces of my life scattered throughout the books. An elderly married couple that I knew during college inspired the characters of Mum and Bob. A girlfriend's father once asked me if I had read Dante in the original Italian (I had not). The presence of Old Tom at Rowan-its clock tower and its chimes-are a nod to Cornell's Uris Library where I spent many an hour drowsing and watching snow settle onto the campus below. The list could go on. While personal anecdotes are nice, historic epics and mythology play a far greater role in shaping The Tapestry.

I must have been 10 or 11 when I first stumbled upon a book of Irish myths. Compared to the familiar fare of Greek and Norse mythology, the Irish tales seemed very exotic. Ireland's stories and heroes possessed a beauty, savagery, and poetry that were magical, as were the names, which I still find a challenge. Central to Irish mythology is the hero, Cuchulain, and I could not ask for a more heroic or human persona on which to base Max McDaniels. In many ways, Cuchulain is the epitome of the tragic hero-he possesses both supernatural power and human foibles and thus makes for a fascinating character study. The myth of the Tain Bo Cualnge, or, The Cattle Raid of Cooley, likewise offered intriguing opportunities to explore heroism and hubris side by side.

The series also incorporates other genres-fantasy, science fiction, and real history-and the mix of these elements will shift from book to book. As a writer, I find the variety energizing as each new volume presents fundamentally new challenges and opportunities. To date, I've fleshed out detailed plans for over half a dozen books-some of which precede The Hound of Rowan by centuries-and I can safely say that no two are alike. I'd find each a joy to write because I'd find each a joy to read. This same mentality is applied to the illustrations.

When it comes to the drawings, I'm of the old school. Each of The Tapestry's illustrations is a piece of original art. There is no PhotoShop-an application that has its uses, but is as pervasive these days as cosmetic surgery. I'd rather have a flawed drawing with a bit of sweat and fingerprints than a super-slick image that lives only on a server. The latter makes me sad. I have tremendous admiration for the work of some earlier illustrators-artists like Sydney Paget, Thomas Nast, and Arthur Rackham. I still pore over their drawings or political cartoons with love and awe and I'm firmly of the belief that the craft hit its zenith in the 19th and early 20th centuries. I try to emulate these old masters, employing the same tools-if not quite the same skills-in the illustration process. The drawings are created with an old-fashioned dip pen, paintbrushes, and washes of India ink applied to hot-pressed watercolor paper. Someday I'd like to work with color, but I don't see that happening within this series.

There you have it-a little glimpse into my background, the stories I tell, and the pictures I make. I hope it's just the beginning and that I will have the opportunity to spend the rest of my life writing books and teaching young people. I can't imagine anything better.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Can't wait for the next book to come out.
Albert Brown Jr
Good read, fun romp and I heartily recommend this book for all ages (I'm not a kid.)
Sherry Boswell
The characters are amazing, the story telling vivid and imaginative.
Guede Nimbo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Shuja Khan on October 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Ever since the Hound of Rowan, I've been hooked on this series. The artwork is incredible, the story is riveting, but what I'm most impressed by is the quality of the writing. Most fiction of this kind is usually about making a choice between reading something that is written well and being engaged by a story. This is one of the few works that masters both. I love these books and I can't wait to start reading them to my son when he gets a little older. Max kicks butt!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Greg Polansky on November 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The world is not as it once was and Rowan is all that remains to stand against the forces of Demon kind. Max is now a hunted by an elite team of assassins who can change shape and look like anyone he knows - the Atropos. And Prusias is known to be creating a new weapon. A weapon that will wipe out Rowan. Now Max and David must travel to what was once known as Europe to find out how to combat this new weapon. If they fail then Rowan is doomed. And will they have enough time before Prusias conquers the other Demon Kingdoms and then sets his eyes on Rowan? And Astaroth. Weakened but not gone. What of him?

The latest installment in The Tapestry series finds significant plot development and a great story. It also includes some really good hints about what Astaroth really is. As always, well written and with some really funny moments - as in title here when Bram is questioning his granddaughter, Mina. Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Big fan on October 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Max McDaniels is a hero - devoured this book - best of the series so far. Plot is action-packed and introduces new memorable characters into the fast-paced storyline - Neff is an excellent writer and storyteller. Can't believe he also illustrates these books.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rici on October 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first book I've ever read where my fav thing about the book was the villian's character development. My only gripe, and the reason why this is my second fav book of the series, is that Max never really gets to save the day. I pray that in the last book The Red Winter, Max, not David, not Mina, or Bram, but Max gets to finish off Astaroth. 4.9999/5 Highly recommend.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bclan on October 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was amazing! I love how the characters progress. The quality of the writing was very good. I cannot wait for the last book, especially because of the little sneak peek into what they are going to do at the end. The author does a very good job with the books and is mindful of the age it was designed for, but people of all ages can enjoy them. I am thirteen an completely adore these books. If you read this, Henry Neff, please continue with the same age group you are currently writing for. The maelstrom was a great addition to an already wonderful group of books. I am also amazed at how well he can illustrate his ideas into the artwork. The pictures really helped me picture the characters and settings. The story plot is amazing, too. It really kept me engaged, even though I started this book series about two years ago. I am sure the last one will be just as amazing when it comes out in a year. I can't wait.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Richards on October 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
just when you thought they couldn't get any better, The Maelstrom delivers. The star of the series. This book is fantastic. I just hope they keep coming. Thank you Henry Neff.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This book was really good. Every time I started reading I couldn't put it down. Every single of the authors books are so good. This particular series are my favorite in all the series of books in the world. Very good book and I hope another book of this series comes out soon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Etiquette on August 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Always full of adventures and daring battles, this book does not disappoint. It's a great read from start to end :)
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